TV ads still push unhealthy foods at kids

November 6, 2017

(HealthDay)—The number of food ads targeting American children has declined, but most of the ads they do see are for unhealthy foods, a new study finds.

Under a voluntary initiative launched in 2007, major food and beverage companies agreed to reduce unhealthy product advertising to younger than 12.

The study found, though, that children still see 10 to 11 food-related TV ads a day, and most of them are for unhealthy items such as sugary drinks, , sweet and salty snacks and candy.

The researchers also found that most of the companies that agreed to the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) have ignored experts' suggestions to improve the initiative. Those have included:

  • Strengthening nutrition standards for products companies claim are healthier choices that can be advertised directly to children,
  • Expanding the initiative to include children up to at least 14 years old,
  • Increasing the types of media covered by the initiative to include programming frequently watched by youngsters, as well as all forms of marketing that appeal to children, such as mobile apps with branded games and YouTube videos

The study, done by researchers at the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, was to be presented Monday at the American Public Health Association's annual meeting, in Atlanta.

"The food and beverage companies participating in the voluntary initiative should be recognized for actions they have taken to reduce advertising to children," said study lead author Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. "However, limitations in self-regulatory pledges allow companies to continue to advertise unhealthy products to children.

"Furthermore, increased advertising by companies that do not participate in CFBAI has offset much of the reduction in advertising by CFBAI companies, and children continue to view thousands of TV ads per year for unhealthy food and drinks, including ads for candy, snacks, and fast that target them directly," Harris said in a university news release.

Explore further: Industry self-regulation permits junk food ads in programming popular with children

More information: The American Academy of Pediatrics has more on children's nutrition.

Related Stories

Industry self-regulation permits junk food ads in programming popular with children

March 12, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Loopholes in industry self-regulation allow food companies to continue to reach large numbers of children with advertising for unhealthy products—such as fast food, candy, and cookies—during "tween" ...

Product placements market unhealthy food to children

August 2, 2011
Children are being exposed to almost one advertisement every day for unhealthy food, beverage, and restaurant brands via product placements on prime-time TV, finds a study from Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. ...

Foods advertised on popular children's websites do not meet nutrition standards

July 9, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—Despite food company pledges to advertise only healthier foods to children, a Yale Rudd Center study finds that companies place billions of ads for unhealthy foods and beverages on children's websites. ...

An issue we can agree on: Parents support policies limiting unhealthy food marketing to children, survey finds

October 30, 2012
Parents are concerned about food marketing and the way it impacts their children's eating habits and would support policies to limit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children, according to a study from Yale's ...

TV ads nutritionally unhealthy for kids, study finds

December 17, 2013
The nutritional value of food and drinks advertised on children's television programs is worse than food shown in ads during general air time, according to University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.

Fast food companies still target kids with marketing for unhealthy products

November 5, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion to advertise mostly unhealthy products, and children and teens remained key audiences for that advertising, according to a new report by the Yale Rudd Center ...

Recommended for you

India launches 'Modicare', world's biggest health scheme

September 23, 2018
India on Sunday launched the world's biggest health insurance scheme which Prime Minister Narendra Modi said would cover some 500 million poor people.

It's not just for kids—even adults appear to benefit from a regular bedtime

September 21, 2018
Sufficient sleep has been proven to help keep the body healthy and the mind sharp. But it's not just an issue of logging at least seven hours of Z's.

Patient-centered visual aid helps physicians discuss risks, treatments with parents

September 21, 2018
A series of illustrations and charts designed as decision aids for parents of children with minor head injuries helped them communicate with emergency medicine physicians and make informed decisions about their child's care, ...

Alcohol responsible for one in 20 deaths worldwide: WHO

September 21, 2018
Alcohol kills three million people worldwide each year—more than AIDS, violence and road accidents combined, the World Health Organization said Friday, adding that men are particularly at risk.

Smart pills dumb down medical care, experts warn

September 21, 2018
Enthusiasm for an emerging digital health tool, the smart pill, is on the rise but researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have published a paper in the American Journal of Bioethics that cautions health care ...

China's doctor shortage prompts rush for AI health care

September 20, 2018
Qu Jianguo, 64, had a futuristic medical visit in Shanghai as he put his wrist through an automated pulse-taking machine and received the result within two minutes on a mobile phone—without a doctor present.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.