Digital-age teen eating healthy--sometimes

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I watch both cable and broadcast TV. I like Comedy Central and Cartoon Network, and some of my favorite shows are "The Boondocks," Jon Stewart's show, "Family Guy." On network TV I like "The Amazing Race," "Survivor," "CSI: Miami," "Two and a Half Men" and "King of Queens."

Sometimes I pay attention to commercials. There's a Starbucks commercial I like where the guy goes to work and there's a crowd cheering him on. With TV commercials, I'm sometimes attracted to the music and the topic and the visual part of it. As far as stars appearing in commercials getting my interest, it depends on who it is. Some of it's a little bit corny.

We have TiVo, but I don't really use it for a lot of programs, maybe for a quarter of what I watch. When I do use TiVo, I zap past the commercials.

I also listen to radio-a little bit of everything, hip-hop, rap, rock. I have an iPod with 3,000 songs on it.

At home, I use the computer to go on eBay. I do shopping and a little selling. On eBay I'm interested in cellphones, new electronics, new fashions and clothes, like I've bought a couple of basketball jerseys. I've sold stuff I don't use anymore, like cellphones and a couple baseball cards. EBay is also popular with other people my age. For this Christmas, I started to do a lot of online shopping on sites like Best Buy and Circuit City.

I read Mad Magazine, XXL the music magazine and TransWorld Snowboarding.

I do a lot of multitasking, like instant-messaging my friends on the computer, doing homework and watching TV all at the same time. I maybe spend 3 to 5 hours a day with media. Usually before school, I watch some TV. I have a computer class at school, and then I come home and spend a few hours on the computer, watching TV, playing video games.

For video games, I play mostly on TV. I have an Xbox, PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable. I like action games like shooting and sports like football. Some of the games I have are "Halo 2," "Grand Theft Auto," Madden 2006.

Other than that, I like to hang out with my friends; play football, basketball. My favorite sport is football. I'm on the sailing team at school. Most of the people my age have their own cellphones. On my phone I have text messaging, Internet, music videos and a camera.

My favorite drink is Dr Pepper. For fast-food, I like McDonald's best, and I go there maybe once every two weeks, mainly with friends. My favorite thing there is Chicken Selects. I don't pay attention to the issue of healthy eating on a worldwide scale, but I pay attention to it for myself. I try to eat healthy, and other teens are also conscious about this.

I pay attention to brand names somewhat. But the look, the style of something, is also important. If the style is something that's in at that time, it's more important than the brand name.

I used to not think that advertising had any value in helping me decide what to buy, but I'm starting to think it does. If I see something new on TV, it might attract my attention and make me aware of the product. But there are too many commercials-it's hard to catch the show sometimes.

The companies are going to tailor the product to what we as consumers want and not necessarily what they're telling us we need. Advertising should be more than just showing me what's new.

-as told to Dan Lippe

Marcus Howard

Age: 16

Marcus Howard lives on Long Island, N.Y., and is a junior at St. John the Baptist H.S. Last month marked a milestone for Marcus as he turned 16 and qualified for a learner’s permit. He hopes to get a used company car from his mom’s business.


Marcus’s dream car would be a Hummer, though his family drives a Lexus LS 400 and a Ford Explorer.

Call Marcus on his cellphone and you hear Notorious B.I.G. on the ringtone he downloaded. His service is Verizon. He’s had a cellphone since eighth grade and is on his fourth or fifth handset.

This year, Marcus will make his first visit to Europe, a school-sponsored trip to Italy.

Favorite sport is football and favorite team is the Atlanta Falcons, largely based on the appeal of QB Michael Vick (echoing a survey in Ad Age’s 2005 "Guide to Kids & Marketing").

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