Parents Can't Compete with Restaurant Industry Marketing to Kids

Williston mom says parents' wishes on nutrition are hijacked.

hero_image_alt_text===An image of Physician and mom Lynn Blevins

Marketing by the restaurant industry is so powerful, parents are finding it hard to compete. In fact, Williston mom Lynn Blevins felt so strongly about this, she told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee recently that she felt hijacked.

Lynn also spoke at the AHA's legislative reception to urge legislators to take action to ensure restaurant kids' meals meet nutrition standards. A portion of her statement follows:

Children’s meals, typically offered to kids up to age 10, send a strong cultural message to children as they are establishing their dietary habits. While the meals may appeal to children, they create challenges for parents who are trying to instill good eating habits. As children transition to the adult menu, they are more receptive to cultural and peer influences than they are messages from their parents. When it comes to eating out, parents can end up feeling that their own dietary intentions for their kids have been hijacked.

Let’s imagine what we do want for our kids. Our children are the first generation that may, on average, live shorter lives than their parents due to obesity and associated chronic diseases like diabetes. Disproving these predictions requires action and messaging about healthy lifestyles from multiple avenues: family, education, government, and business. Restaurants have a unique opportunity to lead the way by replacing unhealthy “default” items with healthier choices. This would support the intentions of most parents I know and help prime children for making a life’s worth of healthy choices as adults.

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