Eating healthfully: How advertising impacts your diet

Making healthy food and drink choices can be tough. Especially when sugary drinks and fast food dominate much of the advertising aimed at young people.

Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness helps youth explore what they eat and drink — and why — by examining the power of advertising.

Eat right and stay active

To stay healthy and fit, children and adults should follow the 5-2-1-0 rule every day:

  • 5 servings of fruits and vegetables
  • 2 hours or less of television time
  • 1 hour or more of physical activity
  • 0 sugar-sweetened beverages

Join us for a free cooking class Oct. 23. Learn new seasonal recipes that are healthy and kid approved.
Bring kids ages 10-to-16. (One adult for every two children).
Call (502)-629-KIDS to register.

Prevention & Wellness

For more information about Norton Children’s Prevention & Wellness programs supported by the Children’s Hospital Foundation, call (502) 629-7358 or

We work with health teachers in middle and high schools to offer a series of Teen Wellness Workshops, including a lesson called “Youth Making Smart Choices About Health.”

On any given day, teens are exposed to eight hours of media. Whether they’re listening to music, watching YouTube or checking Instagram, advertising follows their every digital move.

When students are asked, “Have you ever seen a commercial for carrots?” they look puzzled. During the workshops, after watching a short video of advertisements for soft drinks, sugary cereals and fast food, teens never fail to recognize the jingles, singing along: “Hearts, stars and horseshoes, clovers and blue moons, hourglasses, rainbows and tasty red balloons!” They giggle when Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj and Drew Brees appear in soft drink ads endorsing the sweet, fizzy stuff.

Understanding the five food groups

This exercise helps students consider how they make decisions about what they eat and drink. They are then able to identify the tactics advertisers use to capture their attention, such as celebrity endorsements, bright colors, cheerful jingles and animation. We then explore more reputable sources of information about what teens should be eating and drinking — because, let’s face it, everyone wants to be a little more like “Queen Bey.” However, although she’s a great musician, she’s not a nutritional expert.
choosemyplate.gov sugar and advertising
The Great Healthy Plate is a great visual of the five food groups that our bodies actually need for nourishment. We need lots of fruits and veggies that provide us with vitamins and minerals; protein for strong muscles; dairy for strong bones; and grains for energy and fiber.

The next time you see an ad for a sugary treat, talk to your child about making informed choices rather than falling for advertising tactics. Learn more about nutritional guidelines, by visiting ChooseMyPlate.gov.


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