Study: Children see more TV ads for fast food

A new study published in the September print issue of "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine" finds that American children are seeing fewer TV ads for candy and drinks, but more ads for fast food commercial.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago used TV rating data from Nielsen Media Research for 2003, 2005 and 2007 to analyze food advertising trends among kids. It looked at trends among the categories of age (2 to 5, 6 to 11, and 12 to 15) and race.

From the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine:

Between 2003 and 2007 daily average exposure to food ads fell by 13.7% and 3.7% among young children aged 2 to 5 and 6 to 11 years, respectively, but increased by 3.7% among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Exposure to sweets ads fell 41%, 29.3%, and 12.1%, respectively, for 2- to 5-, 6- to 11-, and 12- to 17-year-olds and beverage ads were down by about 27% to 30% across these age groups, with substantial decreases in exposure to ads for the most heavily advertised sugar-sweetened beverages--fruit drinks and regular soft drinks. Exposure to fast food ads increased by 4.7%, 12.2%, and 20.4% among children aged 2 to 5, 6 to 11, and 12 to 17 years, respectively, between 2003 and 2007. The racial gap in exposure to food advertising grew between 2003 and 2007, particularly for fast food ads.

African American children in all age categories saw more food ads per day than white children.

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Daryl Paranada is the associate web producer for Marketplace overseeing all daily website content and production, as well as producing multimedia features -- including the popular economic explainer series Whiteboard -- and special projects. Follow him on Twitter @darylparanada.

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