Disney Ditches Sugary Commercials
I remember the Disney Channel when I was younger. Heck, I still watch it. Although I think it’s a disappointment that they no longer show ‘Phil of the Future‘, I still get my fix watching ‘The Suite Life of Zack and Cody‘, as well as ‘My Babysitter’s a Vampire‘ (anyone with me on this?). What I was glad to hear recently is that the Disney Channel is taking charge in the health of our youth and becoming one of the first channels to ditch commercials containing ads for sugary processed foods, like cereal, candy and juice and sports drinks.
How TV Affects Children and Adult Decisions
Television has a mind altering affect on people, affecting individuals to make choices about what they eat, their personal style and the way they speak. I joke occasionally calling it a hypnotic tool for mass persuasion!
Conspiracy theory? Nah. Watching television places your mind in a relaxed, submissive state. Comedies help you open your mind and dramas help you focus it. Either way, commercials take advantage of this state in your brain and bombard it with happy images of what a certain food, or drug, can do for you.
On one hand, television can be a fantastic medium. It opens us up to different cultures, times and events that we might not have otherwise known about in our own community or education. It makes the world a little bit smaller and connects us with what is happening around it. Although the internet may be taking over television, just like television took over radio (karma?), it still provides a source of entertainment, education and awe.
That being said, take a look at what the majority of young people are watching on television today: “reality” television. Reality television is far from being real, yet they still have a strong impact on how teenagers think and behave. Some studies point to the fact that more often than not, violence in television, movies and video games promote more aggressive behavior.
If you’re like me and incredibly sensitive to violent films and television shows, you avoid them at all cost because you know how much they affect your emotions and thinking.
Sex, a topic I don’t discuss often on here, is rampant in most network television (and of course cable television). Although I believe it is an important topic to discuss with young people in order for them to make safe and healthy decisions in their future, studies have shown that when it is presented distastefully and excessively in the media it is more likely to promote initiation of sexual behavior in teens and young adults. If a child should watch TV that include sexual content and topics, including subject matter that involves the risks and the pitfalls of such activity is recommended (a good Facts of Life episode).
If you would like to put your two cents worth on television and how it affects behavior, please leave a comment below, or comment on my Facebook page.
Disney Ditches the Sugar
Not taking effect until 2015, Disney Channel has brought it upon itself to be a leader in helping kids change their eating habits, becoming a proactive leader in the fight against child obesity. Obvious items like candy bars, sodas and juices are going to be prevented from advertising in the commercial time spots.
Any food item with more than 10 grams of sugar will also be banned, as well as meals containing more than 600 calories. Although calories aren’t everything, especially for active, growing bodies, I think that it’s good that they’re are taking some step in preventing overconsumption in inactive children.
Removing junk food ads might also help take away the temptation, as quoted from this article. Also, it is far better, in my opinion, than the decision that happened in New York which banned super-sized sodas. We should all have freedom of choice. Banning commercials, however, is less controversial and doesn’t involve taking away anyone’s rights.
I fear that there may be advertisements for low-fat and fat-free pasteurized milk, as this article explains it will only air advertisements with foods low in saturated fat. As mentioned here on this blog numerous times, saturated fat is a natural fat with many different health benefits. I would never advise anyone to drink pasteurized milk regularly, but if someone had to drink milk, I would certainly recommend drinking it in its whole, natural form, without the fat removed. Nature isn’t stupid.
Ditch Sugar and Television!
We all know that sugar promotes obesity. It isn’t exactly the cause of obesity, but it is definitely a big contributor. This is mainly due to the fact that sugar, and even refined grains (which are pushed on television viewer through processed foods) raise blood sugar and insulin levels to very high levels. This increases hunger, decreases the hunger surprising hormone (leptin) and stimulates fat storage.
Television has also been shown to lower metabolic rate in children, compared from normal rest. How does this occur? I suspect that normal rest without the television involves at least some movement, perhaps flipping through a book, thinking, laughing, talking, etc. Television promotes motionless trances in most people, especially if they are watching it alone.
As mentioned before, television may also influence your decision making, or your children’s. It’s important for each and everyone of us to make decisions from our own minds, and not from what we see on TV or what other people around us are doing. Exposing our minds to unnecessary violence, including the evening news, only increases our stress levels which in turn my increase cortisol and the aging process.
Like I said earlier in the post, I still watch some television. ‘The Suite Life’, ‘My Babysitter’s a Vampire’, ‘I Love Lucy’ and anything on Turner Classic Movies that is in between the silent era and the ’50s. I abhor reality shows, and do not recommend them to anyone, but that is also a personal opinion and choice. I’ve found that ditching not only sugar but most television shows has given me more time to be active, take care of this site, cook, act, garden and do everything else that I love to do.
How to Encourage Healthy Decisions in Young People
Television does have a good side, especially educational television. If you are reading this, you are probably already a good judge of character for a TV show, and know what you would and would not want you or your children (or any youth) to be watching. Although we can’t protect anyone from everything, we can do our best to provide young minds with encouraging, enlightening inputs.
Getting you and your children out into nature is a good option for getting away from all electronics. Disconnecting from the television and computer screen promotes physical activity which can lead to healthier, stronger bodies and minds. Don’t have children but want to make a difference? Volunteer your time to young people in need, or perhaps to nephews, nieces, grandchildren, cousins, etc.
Cook together in the kitchen. Making anyone of the recipes here on this blog, or any recipe you like for that matter, gets them involved with the process of putting together the meal. This may make them appreciate their food a little bit more, also promoting them to eat more healthy, wholesome meals. Having them involved in growing their own food also encourages them to eat more veggies while being active and learning about nature at the same time.
Are you a TV viewer? How do certain programs make you feel or act? Do you believe it holds any influence on minds, of all ages? Let me know in the comments below.
The Healthy Advocate.