Research regarding the behavioral outcomes of television advertising found that it is a significant factor in determining the specific items, including food items, children’s requests. Although it was recognized early on that advertising would generate most of the operating revenues for television programming, it wasn’t until the 1960s that advertisers began creating commercials targeted specifically toward children as a means of adding to their audience, and therefore consumer, base (Adler, 1980). Understanding that children do not have the same cognitive power as adults, more than 60 psychologists have voiced their concerns to the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding television advertisements to children, citing in their report several countries that have legislated restrictions for the advertising to children. These countries include Greece, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Canada. According to these studies, children eight years old and younger do not understand that advertisements serve a different purpose than other television programs. They completely believe what the television tells them so advertising to them is ‘like shooting fish in a barrel.’ Advertising to young children takes full advantage of their naiveté, a practice that, in any other context, is generally illegal and unquestionably immoral (Kunkel et al, 2004).
Television commercials promoting foods often misrepresent their products to impressionable children, as well as adults, regarding the product’s nutritional values, or lack of. “Health experts believe that the constant promotion of high-calorie food is .contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States by encouraging preferences for junk food and contributing to poor eating habits” (Byrd-Bredbenner &. Grasso, 2000). . There remains a strong association between obesity, regardless of age, and the amount of time spent watching television. . .