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The Girlfriend's Guide to Health will be updated every Tuesday.... Stay tuned dear readers and let me rock your world.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And Now a Word from My Sponsor...

Have you noticed dear girlfriends that lately we are BOMBARDED with marketing mayhem? I mean really how could you not notice. I don’t mean the billboards in TIME SQUARE kind of marketing or the commercials between your favorite television series… I mean the fact that advertising has now found its way into places it had otherwise never been- or never should have been.

Let’s examine the evidence.

Yesterday on a flight from Calgary to Vancouver I was hollered at not one, not two, but three times in the airport by three different women asking me to sign up for a credit card.

Make no mistake- I am a fan of credit… hell I may not believe in a lot of things… but I do believe in credit. The problem that I have is not with the card, nor with the undoubtedly lovely women who are pedaling them…. It’s the concept.

Isn’t an airport the one place in the world where people stare blankly at each other without any concern for another human being personal interest? Isn’t the airport the final sanctuary where we all just march on like drones towards a destination?
Does this last vestige of isolation really need to be invaded by someone trying to sell me something…? To my face?

And while I have your attention on this rant… what happened to going to the movies and just seeing the credits before the movie? Why do I have to sit through a Lexus commercial before I can watch what next cinema disaster Jennifer Aniston has gotten herself into or the preview for a Disney movie sequel that is coming out in 3 years time?

The final straw came when after reaching my seat on the plane bound to Vancouver that I was instructed to watch the television screen in front of me for a security and safety briefing. After being instructed on how to fasten my seatbelt and put on my life vest (in the event of an emergency landing over water) I was then subject to a TELUS commercial. Although the Jingle “when the beat stops, that’s when we rock” was not unpleasant, I resent those bastards for capturing my attention with a lifesaving skill review only to hold it captive with a promise for better cell phone reception.

Look- I don’t begrudge the free market for trying to make its way in the world. Hell I am a strong supporter of a good economy – check my closet if you do not believe me. What I do resent is having certain marketing and advertising shoved into my consciousness under false pretenses.

I came to board a plane and was accosted with a credit card sign up. I came to watch the movie and was faced with 2012 car of the year. All I wanted to do was to ensure that my seatback and tray were in the upright and locked position and I had to endure a dancing parrot and the promise of free texting features.

Is there not a place in this world where we are not trying to sell or buy something? Is this what it has all come down to? Where in the world is it still sacred? Hell, even in my own medical office there is a television set with advertisements flashing across the screen…. Not my doing dear girlfriends, I just rent the space. But really… do people need to be faced with the latest and greatest in life insurance and face creams while waiting for their Pap smear?

I can’t help but wonder where do we draw the line?

A study published in 2009 in the European Journal of public health showed that limiting a child’s access to television food commercials could help out a dent in the Obesity crisis.

Studies have shown that it is estimated that an individual is exposed to approximately 400 add per day in one form of another.

The researchers constructed a mathematical simulation model to estimate the potential effects of reducing the exposure of 6- to 12-year-old US children to TV advertising for food on the prevalence of overweight and obesity. The model was based on BMI or body mass index.

The study looked at rates of television add exposure and body size on children between ages 6-12. .

Based on literature findings, the model predicts that reducing the exposure to zero would decrease the average BMI by 0.38 kg/m2 and lower the prevalence of obesity from 17.8 to 15.2% for boys and from 15.9% to 13.5% for girls.

Now this was only television based advertisements but one can only imagine what would happen if we minimized other forms of advertising.

There you have it some evidence to suggest that even restricting some add exposure could help disease prevention.

I realize I a being biased. I often read magazine JUST for the ads. This is perhaps my way of using science to defend my life choices. Yes, I do love the free market but I suspect there will be more scientific evidence further supporting me putting the unwanted commercial down and stepping away from the insanity.

For now- I ignore the pleas of the woman at the airport wanting me to get yet another credit card. I tune out the TELUS commercials on the plane rides home and I come later to movies so as to miss the obligatory Lexus commercial before the credits. I’m learning, dear girlfriends that as with undergarments and the hunt for the perfect day clutch…. You really must pick your battles.

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