Junk Food TV Ads Harm Kids’ Eating Habits, Survey Finds

April 3, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. stave off /steɪv awf/ (phrasal v.) – to stop or prevent something
Example: Some nutritionists say yogurts can stave off colds.

2. craving /ˈkreɪ vɪŋ/ (n.) – a strong desire for something
Example: Exercising increased my craving for a cold drink.

3. unsuitable /ʌnˈsu tə bəl/ (adj.) – not proper
Example: Advertisements with violence are unsuitable on television.

4. ready-made /ˈrɛd I meɪd/ (adj.) – prepared or made in advance
Example: Most ready-made meals require light cooking.

5. deep-fried /ˈdipˈfraɪd/ (adj.) – fried or cooked in a lot of oil
Example: He likes to eat deep-fried shrimps.


Read the text below.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) claims that advertisements make it hard for parents to stave off their kids’ junk food cravings

The BHF cited a survey conducted by market research firm YouGov. The survey revealed that 70% of the 2,188 participants blame television ads for their kids’ overdemand for junk food. Also, only three in every ten parents are not bothered by their children’s request for junk food after watching a commercial.

BHF director of policy Mike Hobday [HOB-dey] believes that the UK government’s regulations for TV ads are weak. He added that the faulty system has led to kids’ exposure to unhealthy eating habits. Junk food TV ads are banned during children’s programs. However, the BHF noted that unwanted ads can still air in between family programs that children also watch. Thus, the foundation recommends that no junk food ads should be aired before 9:00 p.m. Beyond that time, ads unsuitable for children can already be aired.

On the other hand, the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) criticized the survey’s findings. The ISBA clarified that the BHF should focus on parental responsibility instead of TV ad regulations. Also, the group remarked on the survey’s lack of further details.

According to the BHF, junk food refers to ready-made food with low nutritional value. Typical junk foods include pizza, burger, ice cream, soda, and deep-fried foods like French fries and fried chicken. These types of food mostly contain preservatives, sodium, sugar, artificial coloring, and other ingredients that can be harmful if consumed regularly. Overconsumption of junk food can result in diseases like obesity and heart problems.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you approve of banning junk food ads? Why or why not?
·         How can parents discourage their children from eating junk food?

Discussion B

·         Why do you think junk food is popular among kids?
·         How do advertisements influence you in buying a food product?

April 3, 2015