Commentary: Junk Food Commercials Are Targeting Latino Kids In Childhood Obesity Epidemic Fight

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For me, these bad habits continued through my young adulthood and into college. When the scale finally hit 230 pounds and I was officially an obese 18-year-old, I decided that I needed to get my act together and lose the weight. 

Many years (and countless of Weight Watchers meetings later), I’m finally at a weight that I am comfortable in. Still, my struggles are almost daily. To be honest, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have to recite in my head the healthy habits that I have gained since losing weight. Although people look at me and congratulate me on my weight loss and tell me that it looks as if I’m doing well, it’s not easy. It never has been and I don’t think ever will be easy. Those junk food habits still call to me. 

I’m not the only child that this has happened to, though. Lead researcher Dale Kunkel explains to Forbes.com that these new findings are particularly problematic because “eating patterns established during youth persist into adulthood.” 

Even worse, the problem is getting worse. According to Juliet Sims, a registered dietician who works at Prevention Institute, “these companies use these insidious marketing practices to grab kids very early in an effort to build brand loyalty, and they’re going after children of color even more aggressively.” 

With Latino kids being more likely to be overweight already, according to the Office of Minority Health, why are advertisers making it worse? The rates of childhood obesity need to be going up, not down. 

My only hope is that these latest shocking findings will shed a brighter light on this growing problem and have public health advocates helping to enact stricter rules and enforcement when it comes to junk-food advertising for childred--especially for these Spanish-speaking Latino kids. 

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About this author

Irina Gonzalez,

An NYC-based journalist, web editor, and food writer, she started her career with an internship at Latina magazine while receiving her bachelor’s at New York University. Her work has appeared in Time Out New York, MamasLatinas.com, FamilyCircle.com, TheFrisky.com, GoodHousekeeping.com, and more. When she’s not checking out the latest taco restaurant in New York City, scouring for the best tapas in Barcelona, or dreaming of visiting Alex Atala’s restaurant in Brazil, she’s blogging about her favorite recipes, healthy eating tips and maintaining her 100 pound weight loss on HealthyLatinFood.com. You can always find her on Twitter (@msirinagonzalez) & Instagram (@msirinagonzalez) talking about her latest delicious meal.

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