Junk food advertisement’s the cause of the UK’s obesity levels? The possibilities are endless The argument in question is that regarding the cause of today’s obesity levels in the UK, but there are a number of potential sources to this social downfall. Factors like lack of physical activity, genetics, medical conditions and an obvious factor being a poor diet (Wyatt, Winters and Dubbert, 2006). A poor diet seems to be the common cause of obesity, however the core argument is whether advertisements provoke these poor diets, consequently resulting in obesity. It is considered by Chou, Rashad and Grossman (2008), Andreyeva, Kelly and Harris (2011) and Zimmerman and Bell (2010) to name a few trustworthy sources of many- that television advertisements have little or no influence on consumers’ body weight as they believe independent factors to be the cause; like insecurity for instance. On the other hand however, it is found that a third of parents around the world (Children's Obesity - UK June 2010) believe TV advertisements to be partially responsible for children’s obesity levels and other reliable sources are certain that those without influence of advertisements are less likely to be overweight or obese (Swinburn and Shelly, 2008; Jenkin, Wilson and Hermanson, 2008). Fast food advertising rapidly rising obesity levels? Advertising agencies prove influential in relation to the rising levels of obesity (Jenkin, Wilson and Hermanson, 2008), as excessive consumption of junk food is a prime cause of obesity (Garbutt, 2013), however, arguably inappropriate encouragement from agencies is evident with advertisements from fast food chains like McDonalds and KFC etc. which manipulate both the mature and younger generation into gaining interest in fast food with little nutritional value. Fast food chain ‘McDonald’s’ is a prime example of those encouraging the consumption of junk food, with their advertisements appearing everywhere from billboards to the television, which is to be expected with the company having an advertising budget of $988 million (Hume, 2014). McDonalds reach out to a variety of demographics (Marketing at McDonalds, 2015), but an attempt to entice younger generations is evident in the form of the ‘Happy Meal’ deal which comes with a toy. Providing children with a toy could be considered as a devious ploy in gaining their attention and desire (Anderson, Manoogian and Reznick, 1976), enforcing brand image into the child’s memory (Scott, 1976) and somewhat encouraging them to associate McDonalds with being a happy and fun place to be. This manipulation might be considered inappropriate, as children are being somewhat conditioned to view McDonalds’ food as both a necessity and a delicacy. The lack of nutritional value in food from manipulating restaurants like such is that contributing to the growth in obesity throughout the UK, therefore advertising from these fast food restaurants seems to be unnecessary and disadvantageous, especially regarding children of today as it is found by Jenkin, Wilson and Hermanson (2008) that those under the age of 12 years old exposed to junk food advertisements, are more likely to desire advertised foods in comparison to those who are not. Obesity levels in the UK are higher than anywhere in western Europe! Where are we going wrong? There’s a lot more to it than burgers and fries… Although many sources believe UK fast food advertisements to be highly influential in regards to obesity levels, it is found by Andreyeva, Kelly and Harris (2011) and Zimmerman and Bell (2010) that TV advertisements have little relation in regards to obesity and BMI as it is lack of physical activity and other environmental and social factors that play a huge part in growing obesity statistics, however, they do not rule out the influence of fast food advertisements. Although this source doubts influence from fast food advertisements, belief is however evident that cereal advertisements are substantially influential, with less nutritional cereal being more commonly advertised in comparison to cereals full of fibre and vitamins etc. (Boyland et al., 2011). Boyland et al., (2011) outlines the significant impact sugary cereal advertisements have on young demographic and the frequency in which these ads appear on TV. It is found by Shelnutt (2015) that a lot of children and teenagers tend to skip breakfast as they do not enjoy typical breakfast foods, so cereals high in sugar that are advertised in a typical colourful and exciting manor will appeal to these markets. Exposing these generations to food like this will inevitably increase chances of rising obesity levels in the UK, as the marketing ploy offers the demographic excitement to the breakfast part of their day, therefore appealing to the market. Exploitation of potential The reach in which advertising has is phenomenal (Kreshel, Lancaster and Toomey, 1985), therefore meaning advertising agencies have the potential to give the market as a whole (especially children) an insight as to what other healthy eating options are out there by placing much more emphasis on these products during ad breaks. The Lib Dems in a recent effort to overcome their rival parties released a press release claiming to ensure a ban is put in place on junk food advertisements before 9pm in an attempt to protect the youth from such exposure (Brandrepublic.com, 2015); this ploy from the political party could be a good rule for the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) to enforce on the entire UK advertising industry, as it is evident from findings that a significant number of reliable sources believe advertising to play a huge part in high obesity levels, so by disallowing junk food ads to be aired before 9pm, it at least decreases the chances of younger demographic being exposed to such detrimental food. Reference List Anderson, R., Manoogian, S. and Reznick, J. (1976). The undermining and enhancing of intrinsic motivation in preschool children. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 34(5), pp.915-922. Andreyeva, T., Kelly, I. and Harris, J. (2011). 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