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Disney Sweetens Up Little Girls To Count Calories

Posted Nov 17 2010 8:00pm

Knock me down with marketing innovation!!! A chocolate snack pack featuring Disney princesses. And in bold, almost neon flashing proportions….80 CALORIES. Yes, let’s start a girl on her journey of calorie counting, dieting, body image issues at the tender age of …2!

Let’s face it, Disney princesses’ primary appeal is with 2-6 year old girls, which leaves me as sickened as if I had consumed this entire packet of sweet crap myself! It begs the question, why on earth would anyone be considering calorie counting for your, um, 2 year old??

I get that a 2-6 year old would, hopefully, not know what a calorie was, nor why you would need to count it, which would suggest that this proud declaration of calories is targeting mom.

OK. So why would a mom even begin to think that she needs to calorie count her young child’s food intake. And, just in case, she hasn’t thought to do this, then this little pack of sweet nothing with its bold declaration of low calories, may just make her pause and think that perhaps she needs to start.

At a time when girls as young as 8 are presenting with anorexia and girls as young as 5 are displaying pre-cursors to eating disorders, surely this not just irresponsible marketing but downright dangerous?

Given that one of the first warning signs of body image issues is to calorie count and restrict food intake, this pack is loudly and clearly saying: “Hey, mom, you may as well totally mess with your child’s ability to have a healthy attitude to her body, by buying into the completely unhealthy calorie counting concept.”

Let’s not forget, the company, Frankford Candy, are selling chocolate snacks. Listing the calorie count on its pack is no public service announcement aimed at alleviating childhood obesity. If this was about healthy eating then they’d be selling carrot snack packs not chocolate.

On the one hand they are saying, here’s a sweet, that has zero nutritional benefit, but, hey, it’s low in calories and we need you, mom, to know about that. Because, you can feel like you are doing good by buying a low calorie snack. If you’re feeling confused right now join the club!

If mom wants to encourage healthy eating then surely that’s about a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables – not highly processed, sugary foods. A little dietician 101 will quickly reveal that this form of highly processed food disguised as a “healthy alternative” because it’s low in calories, is so highly processed with little nutritional value, that the body finds it hard to break down. And, when the body can’t break something down because it doesn’t recognise it as food, it stores it as fat. So, poor old mom, who may be duped into this marketing trickery, thinks she’s doing the right thing but in reality is absolutely making the wrong choice on so many levels.
1. It is not healthy
2. It has zero nutritional value
3. It is not helping in the fight against obesity
4. It is doing nothing for her child’s healthy attitude to food and her own body

Stocking your pantry with “junk food” low in calories is not going to promote healthy eating. Choosing a product aimed at a young girl that introduces the concept of calorie counting is not going promote a healthy approach to food.

And, kids are curious. There will come a time when that young girl picks up her favourite snack pack, when she can read, and she just might ask mom, “what’s 80 calorie mean?” What are you going to say then?

Most women, have done the whole dieting and calorie counting thing at some point or points in their lives. We all know how damn destructive it is. Why would any mom even consider buying this product? Women are a consumer force to be reckoned with so vote for promoting positive body image by simply not buying into this despicable and dangerous marketing message!

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