Program Aims To Make Kids More Critical Of Junk Food Ads

Oct 8, 2012

Researchers in Washington are trying a new approach to the growing problem of childhood obesity. They plan to teach kids to be more media savvy, and less susceptible to all those junk food ads.

Researchers say kids who spend more time in front of the screen are at higher risk of becoming overweight. And it’s not just because they’re sitting on the couch.

Erica Austin: “One of the problems is that there’s so much food advertising.”

Erica Austin heads Washington State University's Center for Media and Health Promotion Research. She says ads have a real impact on kids, and the nagging they do on their parents. So, she’s teaming up with other media and nutrition experts at Washington State and the University of Washington. They’re creating a program to teach kids media literacy skills.

“So, you’re looking at, for example, who made that message and why did they make that message?" Austin says. "The point is that every message has been created by someone to achieve some sort of goal.”

The USDA gave the project a $2.5 million grant for the next five years. Researchers are developing classes for kids age 9 to 14,and their parents, in a half-dozen counties across Washington.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network