Weight-Loss Ads and Young Girls
Within that context, a recent article in Health Education Research by Hobbs et al analyzed how 42 girls aged 9 to 17 interpreted weight-loss advertising. The results in this article suggest that:
- these girls did not notice that the ads failed to mention any health risks or dangers associated with a product;
- only 11% of the girls were aware that the people in the ads might have financial motives;
- few of the girls were aware of the message subtext;
- only 29% of the girls were able to determine who the ads were targeting; and
- only 11% of the girls noticed the use of statements about the "safety" and "all naturalness" of the products are persuasive techniques.
There are no magic bullets. Weight-loss is not for sissies - it takes a lot of exercise and a reduction of calories consumed, period. We can all help girls resist the health risks associated with these potentially harmful products by increasing their media literacy as we point out these characteristics when we see the weight-loss ads on TV.
Photo credit: Travelling Matt