Written by Natalie Simpson, @byuiscroll

Scientist are constructing a case linking overeating to food ads, according to NPR.

“Research has found strong associations between increases in advertising for non-nutritious food and rates of childhood obesity,” according to the American Psychological Association.

The public health community has pushed for greater regulation of food ads for years with no success due to lack of proof, according to NPR.

“Two new meta-analyses may help policymakers decide what role food ads play in our obesity epidemic,” according to NPR. “While different in size and scope, both papers show how food advertising influences eating behavior — and can have a major impact on eating and eventual weight gain.”

The Center for Disease Control found that in the last quarter century, obesity among children ages 2 to 11 has more than doubled; among children ages 12 to 19 is has more than tripled, according to the American Psychological Association.

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“Food companies use aggressive and sophisticated marketing techniques to influence our food choices,”according to bodyrock.tv. “Food’s integration into media and entertainment is a major cause for concern with health experts — especially when it comes to kids. Everything from traditional advertisements, to product placements and advergaming, are being linked to obesity rates.”  

The food and beverage industry spent $4.2 billion in 2010 on advertising, specifically targeting young people and children as young as 2 years old, according to fastfoodmarketing.org.

“Food and beverage companies are using television ads to entice children into eating massive amounts of unhealthful food, leading to a sharp increase in childhood obesity and diabetes, a national science advisory panel said yesterday,” according to The Washington Post.

The Obama administration proposed optional advertising guidelines with in the food industry, but the proposal was dropped in 2012, according to NPR.

“In 2012, fast food restaurants spent $4.6 billion in total on all advertising, an 8 percent increase over 2009,” according to fastfoodmarketing.org.