-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Aug. 2 (HealthDay News) -- American children see fewer
food and drink ads on television today, but most of the ads they
view are for unhealthy products, a new study says.
The study also found a large jump in children's exposure to TV
ads for fast-food restaurants.
The findings suggest food industry self-regulation has done
little to reduce children's exposure to ads for unhealthy products,
the researchers said.
They examined changes in food, beverage and restaurant TV ads
seen by children before and after the Children's Food and Beverage
Advertising Initiative was enacted in 2006. Companies in the
voluntary program agreed to limit ads for unhealthy foods and
beverages that target children 11 years and younger.
From 2003 to 2009, daily exposure to food, beverage and
restaurant ads fell by 18 percent among children ages 2 to 5 and by
7 percent among children ages 6 to 11. But in 2009, 86 percent of
all TV food and beverage ads targeted at children 11 years and
younger still featured unhealthy products high in saturated fat,
sugar or sodium.
This percentage was even higher (88 percent) among companies
that were part of the voluntary program to limit such ads, the
study authors noted.
"Our findings show that industry self-regulation has had limited impact, particularly on the types of products companies continue to advertise," lead researcher Lisa M. Powell, of the University of Illinois at Chicago and Bridging the Gap, a national research program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a foundation news release.
"There was greater improvement in ads targeting kids ages 2 to 5, but more limited progress for ads seen by kids ages 6 to 11. And fast-food ads increased substantially -- kids 11 and under are seeing more ads for fast food than any other type of food," she added.
The study was published Aug. 1 in the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
The American Academy of Pediatrics offers an overview of
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