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What are some negative effects of advertising on teenagers?

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Quick Answer

The negative effects of advertising on teenagers include increased cigarette and alcohol use, obesity, poor nutrition and eating disorders, according to Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Prescription drug advertisements also encourage adolescents and children to believe that drugs are the cure for all their problems.

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Exposure to tobacco advertising is a bigger risk factor for tobacco use amongst adolescents than having friends or family who smoke, Pediatrics notes. Tobacco advertisements also undermine strong parental efforts to discourage teen smoking. Approximately one-third of adolescent smoking is attributable to tobacco advertisement. Evidence demonstrates that tobacco companies specifically target adolescents. Research has also found that exposure to alcohol advertisement is a direct cause of increased adolescent drinking.

Poor nutrition, obesity and eating disorders amongst adolescents have also been linked to advertisement, explains Pediatrics. Approximately 50 percent of television advertisements viewed by teenagers are for food. Of these, less than 3 percent are for healthy food. Television advertisement is loaded with commercials for sugary cereals and high-calorie snacks. These advertisements are linked to teen obesity.

Anorexia amongst adolescent girls has also been linked to advertising. The majority of models appearing in advertisements are unusually thin. Adolescent girls often try to emulate these models, which is unrealistic for most girls. The result is often an eating disorder.

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