Thursday, August 16, 2007

Are Kids McBrainwashed?

news you may not knowThe Battle Lines Are Drawn...

This should come as no surprise. After all, McDonald's spends in excess of $1.6 billion per year telling us how fabulous their foods are. While we may do our best to tune out the commercials, some smaller members of our society are all ears. Like earnest young Frasier Cranes, the kids respond to McDonald's advertising with a heartfelt, "I'm listening."

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine put the power of promotion to the test. They enrolled the help of 63 kids, between 3 and 5, to take part in a supervised snack time. They were fed five identical pairs of food, including hamburgers, fries, milk, and carrots.

The only difference in each pair was the package. One item was packaged in a McDonald's wrapper. The other item was in a plain wrapper of the same color and style.

McDonald's won hands down.

Though the foods were identical, taken from the same batch, the kids thought the McDonald's food was tastier. Three to five year-old kids. It's astonishing how perceptive young children are. But, are McDonald's and other fast food giants really the lifestyle mentors we want for our kids?

The battle for the brain is raging. Unless you have a spare billion dollars or so, you'll never compete on the advertising front. But, there are ways to help your kids make the right food choices. KidsHealth recommends having regular family meals and - this is where it gets tricky - being a role model by eating healthy foods yourself. Yikes!

So, the battle lines are drawn. McDonald's with their billions. You with your blood, sweat, and tears - and carrots, peas, and summer squash.

Here's to Parent Power…

To read more about the study, see this from Reuters. To see the full list of recommendations on helping kids eat healthy foods, see this from KidsHealth.


Anonymous melissa in Virginia said...

limit TV viewing and when they watch - watch with them. Now you take an active role in their learning! McDonalds may have a healthier menu but their bottom line is dollars. Let your kids know that...set a foundation for healthy eating by raising a child who can reason not just mimic!
"heads up"... stations like PBS name sponsers rather than broadcasting those "influential" commercials a plus for younger viewers! Thanks for posting.

10:43 AM  
Blogger tim said...


Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your passion about what kids watch.

Have a great day,


12:17 PM  
Blogger The Lieurance Group said...

Ooops! Overs....I messed up on that last post. Sorry...


Kids pick ROCKS - yes rocks - to eat over an apple or orange or other real FOOD when the rock has a super hero or a cartoon character or a smiley face stamped on top of it.

Fast food chains like McDonalds just need to offer healthier foods and kids will eat them (and MOM will be happier to buy them).

Now that's a REAL Happy Meal!

The Working Writer's Coach

2:29 PM  
Blogger tim said...


Hey, we always allow "Overs" on this blog.

That's amazing about the rocks!

You're absolutely right about the fast food chains needing to offer healthier foods.

Thanks for the note(s)...

Have a terrific day,


3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not just get rid of the TV? That's what we did. Have you read the book "Buy, Buy, Baby"?

11:26 AM  
Blogger tim said...

Thanks for the comment.

You're certainly bucking the trend by getting rid of the TV - congratulations.

I haven't read the book, but here is a link for anyone who is interested:

Thanks for stopping by,


11:36 AM  

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