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Starting Them Young

Starting Them Young

In the last couple of months, Supermarket News has reported the Disney channel is ramping up standards for food advertising with the intention of promoting healthier foods. Other stories have mentioned retailers introducing educational programs and materials for children, such as Ahold’s new health and wellness magazine targeting 8 to 12 year olds.

For those of us who have backgrounds tied to education, the move is not surprising. In fact, it’s welcomed.

America’s current obesity epidemic didn’t happen overnight. Nor, will it go away quickly. But, you have to start somewhere. And, it should be with a focus on today’s youth.

The behaviors adopted by children now will become lifelong habits just as difficult to break as the poor eating routines of their parents. If a healthier lifestyle can be made more appealing at this critical stage, instead of at an age when a diet change is forced due to high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease, all the better.

Plus, children are able to get parents and grandparents to comply in ways that no one else can. So, kids engaged in healthy eating practices may be more persuasive with their elders than any traditional marketing tool.

Besides, anyone who has gone shopping with a child knows the influence of a toddler or pre-teen. In fact, most adults would agree that a happy and engaged child accompanying them through the grocery store gives the term “hassle free” shopping a whole new meaning

So while Wall Street’s expectations for immediate financial returns make investing in tomorrow’s shoppers and employees seem too long term, it shouldn’t be. The time to instill healthy 

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