Outdoor Fast Food Ads May Put You at Risk for Obesity
Outdoor advertisements may have a negative impact on eating habits. Most people irrationally believe that advertisement have no impact on them… just like an overwhelming majority of motorists think that they are better than average drivers. If you think outdoor fast food ads do not impact you, think again.
Have you ever wondered whether driving past your favorite restaurants on your way home from work may put you at risk for obesity? You may have to change your route home after you read this.
According to an article posted in the January 2013 in Science Daily, new research from UCLA suggests that there is a link between outdoor advertisements and obesity.
Science Daily states that “in a study published online in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health, Dr. Lenard Lesser and his colleagues suggest that the more outdoor advertisements promoting fast food and soft drinks there are in a given census tract, the higher the likelihood that the area’s residents are overweight.”
Should food advertising be reduced in urban areas?
“Obesity is a significant health problem, so we need to know the factors that contribute to the overeating of processed food,” said Lesser, who conducted the research while a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the UCLA Department of Family Medicine and UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health.
“If the … associations are confirmed by additional research, policy approaches may be important to reduce the amount of food advertising in urban areas,” the researchers write, while noting that outright bans on such ads might be deemed unconstitutional. “Innovative strategies, such as warning labels, counter-advertising, or a tax on obesogenic advertising should be tested as possible public health interventions for reducing the prevalence of obesity.”
We are a convenience society. A fast and inexpensive meal on the way home saves people time and money, unfortunately it does not do any good for their health. People often just look at the short-term benefits versus what an unhealthy diet will do long-term. Health experts should always seek to educate people on how to manage their time and teach them how to plan ahead, so that the whole family can enjoy a healthy and simple home cooked meal.
While we could not find any Canadian studies, it surely would be interesting to find out if Canadian cities that have practically banned billboards have lower obesity rates than those American style Canadian cities that allow and promote billboard advertising.
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