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Fast food marketing for children is on the rise
Fast food marketing to children is on the rise and the foods that popular restaurant chains are advertising are extremely unhealthy. The report looked at 12 popular restaurant chains, and out of more than 3,000 kids meal combinations, found only 12 that met the nutritional guidelines for preschool-aged kids.
"The worst meal was at Dairy Queen," said the lead study author. "It totaled 973 calories." The No. 2 culprit: KFC's popcorn chicken kids meal, totaling 840 calories.
Of the 12 meals that made the grade, Harris said it was Subway's "Veggie Delite," took the award for healthiest kids meal at 285 calories. Burger King's macaroni and cheese meal with apple slices and fat-free milk came in at 285 calories as well.
In addition to nutritional value, the study also looked at fast food marketing to kids, and found that the average preschooler is seeing 21 percent more fast food ads than they were in 2003. African American children saw almost 50 percent more ads than their white counterparts. According to the study, $4.2 billion was spent on advertising by the fast food industry in 2009 and it is working.  The report finds 40-percent of preschool aged children ask to go to McDonalds on a weekly basis, and 15 percent ask on a daily basis. Also, 84 percent of parents say they've taken their children to eat fast food at least once in the past week.
The study did find that most of the fast food restaurants had healthy options as well, but they were hard to find. "More than 80 percent of the time our mystery shoppers went into fast food restaurants, they were automatically given the french fries on the side," she said, "and more than half the time, they were automatically given a cup for soda. So, even though they have the healthy options, they aren't even asking people if they want them."
 
Dr. Iverson's Comment
 
You tell me: How many kids are begging their parents to take them to Subway for the “Veggie Delite”? - Yeah RIGHT! No way! That is a pure sham. Even on Subway’s behalf, they know they can advertise the sandwich with the lowest calorie count, but rarely does anyone actually order it. 
Nope - kids want what we want! Sugar, fat, salt, flavor! We are acting off our pre-ancestral genes that attract us to food that is higher in calories. It was an adaptive mechanism that worked for our ancestors so that we would eat food richer in energy which allowed us to survive the harsh environment. 
These companies are not America’s most successful companies for just any reason. They have flourished even through the economic woes of the rest of the country because they offer cheap, flavor-filled food (plus you can even get a toy of your favorite movie character!)  I liken this marketing to the same commercials used by tobacco companies, alcohol companies, and prescription drugs companies. 
Measuring the calories is just one of the many problems with fast food for our children. Sure the fat and the sugar aspect cause greater obesity but why is there no mention about the chemicals that are added for preserving, coloring, and flavor enhancing? These, in my opinion, are just as dangerous long term as the high caloric value. 
When I was a child our family allowed a happy meal once a month—tops. Because we didn’t have a lavish lifestyle we ate mostly food that was home-made and grown from the garden, home-raised or hunted instead of purchased at restaurants or pre-packaged. Little did I know that our humble beginning was the best health care insurance I could have ever asked for.
Let the kids have their treats too, but make it once in a great while as opposed to daily or weekly.
Be Well~
Andrew Iverson 
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