- According to the most recent National Health and Nutrition Survey, four out of 10 minors in Mexico suffer from childhood obesity.
- Therefore, our country already ranks first in the world in children with excess body mass.
- The scientific journal BMJ Global Health conducted research to identify junk food ads within TikTok.
The controversies around one of the most popular social networks in the world do not end. Is about TikTok and the spread of junk food. Although it seems like a minor issue, it is actually quite serious due to all the effects that this type of health generates for health. Beyond obesity, it is also a risk factor for developing a wide variety of diseases.
No one can stop TikTok
In the first instance, what should be analyzed is the increase and impact of this mobile application. While in January 2018 it had 55 million active users, by September 2021 it reached the figure of one billion people. In fact, it was one of the fastest growing companies during the pandemic and the trend shows that it continues to rise.
On the one hand, the success of TikTok It is in the form so simple to use. Its main purpose is to edit and publish short videos. It offers a wide variety of alternatives to customize each one and that is why it is so addictive.
While inside your users at least a third are children who are 14 years old or younger. This is the sector of the population in which this digital tool is most popular.
New way to promote the consumption of junk food
Now, although much of the content that can be found is entertainment, it has also become a forum used by brands to spread their products. They all know that it is a showcase with which they can boost their sales in exchange for a small investment.
On this topic, the scientific journal BMJGlobal Health published the study titled Unhealthy food and beverage brands encouraging TikTok users to market their products for them.
What makes the work stand out is the way in which TikTok has become a space to promote the consumption of junk food, especially among the youngest. Children are exposed to a large number of unhealthy foods (high in salt, sugar and fat) that are marketed online, the researchers say. And evidence shows that this exposure ultimately influences food preferences, purchases, requests and consumption.
How do brands prefer to advertise on TikTok?
In an attempt to close this knowledge gap, the researchers evaluated the content of all videos posted to the accounts of 16 leading food and non-alcoholic beverage brands, including Kinder, Coca Cola and KFC.
In total, 539 videos were published in the 16 accounts included, with 3% (17) published in 2019 (first year of publication), 37% (198) in 2020 and 60% (324) in the first 6 months of publication. 2021. Four accounts had not posted any videos.
The number of followers of the included accounts ranged from 14 to 1.6 million. Videos received an average of 63,400 views, 5,829 likes, 157 comments, and 36 shares per video. The most common marketing strategies were branding (87% of videos), product images (85%), engagement (31%), and celebrities/influencers (25%).
This is an observational study, so it cannot establish causality. The researchers acknowledge that the sample user-generated content may not have been representative of a branded hashtag challenge. They were also unable to measure children’s exposure to brand promotional activities or user-generated content.
In the end, it is concluded that TikTok is a space in which junk food is becoming more and more popular. Although it is not a crime, more regulations are necessary. Otherwise, obesity will continue to increase throughout the world and among the youngest.
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