July 5th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Kids seeing more ads for fast food, fewer for sweets

Children are seeing fewer television ads for sweets and beverages than they used to,  a new report in the online edition of the  Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine suggests.  However, the study also suggests, children are being exposed to more TV ads for fast food.

Lisa Powell, a researcher at the Institute for Health and Research Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her team looked at advertising targeted at children from 2003 to 2007.   On average, they found children between the ages of 2 and 11 are seeing  30 percent fewer television ads for fruit drinks and regular soft drinks.  Exposure to ads for sweets, such as candy and cookies, went down  35 percent.  However, exposure to ads for fast food went up 8 percent.  Powell says 2- to 5-year-olds now see more fast food ads than cereal ads.  "That suggests a lot of branding is going on.  They are starting marketing of brand loyalty at an earlier age," she says.

But Powell also says some positive steps are also being taken.  She credits the Council of Better Business Bureaus  Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative for helping to change that.  The initiative's goal is in encourage food and beverage companies to focus advertising to children under 12 that encourages healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.

That's a start, says Powell, considering 17 percent of American children and teens are obese, according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  But she says parents also have an important role.  "If you can," says Powell, "replace TV time with reading or physical activity."

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    What happened to all the awesome cereal commercials??

    July 5, 2010 at 20:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DUH

      Awesome? Yeah, they filled me with awe in wondering how the crap these disgusting money-grubbing MONSTERS could get away with poisoning kids minds into buying their vile filth. They use the kids to wear down the parents into buying this trash because they know that parents will give in, bad parents that is.

      July 6, 2010 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      Oh, please. Borrow my hair drier to get the sand out of your vagina.
      No one forces anyone to purchase the things they purchase. I see plenty of ads for stuff I would never buy. Stop blaming other people for your dumb choices.

      July 7, 2010 at 02:07 | Report abuse |
  2. mark nyc

    could it be that there are more fast food chains than ever?????

    July 5, 2010 at 20:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. DSA

    WHat about ALCOHOL ADS on Tv ,Billboards,Magzines,Radio ?????? naaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Right

    July 6, 2010 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. ted

    always somebody or something else to blame.

    July 6, 2010 at 07:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DUH

      I agree. I am so sick of parents giving in to their little brats. I am a parent too and guess what? I feed my kids HEALTHY FOODS! Yes, they have a treat from time to time, but what they put into their mouths has a PROFOUND impact on every aspect of their lives!!! Our diets are everything ! That goes for adults too. But children MUST have the nutrients they need to give them every possible shot at a decent life. Parents, grow some balls and tell your kids the magic two-letter word that is so easy to use: NO!

      July 6, 2010 at 17:47 | Report abuse |
  5. Interesting

    I guess they wouldn't be seeing more ads because they are OUT FOR SUMMER VACATION!

    July 6, 2010 at 08:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nining

      I think he did great and really ewtnad his autograph, but couldn't. i think he deserves to be the hero of the year 2009. the video was very touching,and that made me want to help the charities more. His presentation made me want to unleash my hero in my heart!

      April 9, 2012 at 17:15 | Report abuse |
  6. xHunter

    TV ads don't make kids obese... they need to do a study on parents inability to say no to kids.

    July 6, 2010 at 09:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DUH

      You hit the nail on the head. PARENTS have the wallets. PARENTS do the grocery shopping. PARENTS pay the cable bill. Shut that crap off or how about NO TELEVISION and only DVD's of their favorite shows from TIME TO TIME. Here's a clue: Read to your frickin kids! That requires actually spending time with them, and educating them, and showing them love ! OOOOOOH, but we can't have that. No, mommy and daddy gave birth to you, ISNT THAT ENOUGH?!?!

      NO. ITS NOT.

      July 6, 2010 at 17:50 | Report abuse |
  7. Chris

    They picked the 2 fattest kids they could find for this photo. Ya know, a kid can watch as many T.V ads as he/she wants but they don't generally have money to buy things with. The parents are the problem. And ya know what else, fast food is not the demon that we think it is. I enjoy it every now and then. The problem is parents get it for their kids all the time and generally themselves too. Don't blame the business. They are working hard to be profitable and there's nothing wrong with the ads. That's how you let people know what your business is doing. They are asking you to buy a happy meal a day. That's your decision.

    July 6, 2010 at 09:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Chris

    Are not asking you to buy a happy meal a day is what I should have typed. Sorry.

    July 6, 2010 at 09:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. The_Mick

    In the late 60's, I was a teenager in school working part-time as a grill man at a fast food place. One night the area manager came in with a preview of a new product: a quarter pound hamburger. It took longer to cook and we wondered how many people would be gluttonous enough to order one, imagining that we'd have the normal grill runs interrupted with special orders, etc. Now even the kid's meal fries are larger than the largest fries we sold and the large drink then is the small one now. And on top of that, you've now got the triple decker (3/8 lb of meat) and the 1/3 pounder at places.

    July 6, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • em

      and you've got products like the "baconator" with three patties, 6 slices of bacon and cheese slathered over it all.... no wonder this nation is obese.

      July 6, 2010 at 12:48 | Report abuse |
    • DUH

      My mom tells me the same thing. Back in the 50's and 60's, going to the diner for a burger was a treat like once a year! Now, many Americans stuff their fat greasy muzzles with this filth on a daily basis. Then they wonder why they need spanx.

      July 6, 2010 at 17:52 | Report abuse |
  10. Leo

    I've seen enough young children SCREAMING that they "need" McDonald's and Taco Bell that this is old news. The food at those places is nasty, and it angers me that kids think they NEED to eat that stuff, and then the parents LET THEM!

    July 6, 2010 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Michael Wong

    One word: Tivo. Just encourage your kids to watch all their favourite programs time-shifted on Tivo, and then they'll naturally fast-forward through all the commercials. Problem solved.

    July 6, 2010 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. em

    Perhaps kids are also seeing more fast food commercials because they're just watching more tv in general. Send them outside, force them to run around a little.

    July 6, 2010 at 12:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Bravo1

    Blame the parents, not the ads. These kids aren't hitching a ride to McD's or BK and buying this stuff with their allowances. And while you're at it, turn off their TV, XBox, PS3, Wii and throw them outside to play! (Well, maybe not in this heat, but you know what I'm saying.) Healthy eating and exercise were what we were brought up with and my brother and I are slim, healthy adults with slim, healthy parents. Basic stuff here.

    July 6, 2010 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tammy

    Insted of complaining why not try turning off the tv? or recording the shows so you can fastfoward the ads!

    July 7, 2010 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. WHAT DOG

    Dog ill smack you in the face and f*ck you up

    August 23, 2010 at 06:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. WHAT DOG


    August 23, 2010 at 06:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bajram

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      April 8, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse |
  17. Lui

    When I was a kid my parents let me have a go at the gumball machine every now and again. It was great knowing I could have it whenever I wanted, but only once a day, week, or whatever. It worked out great.

    November 22, 2010 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Emil

    I thought the emile emnesgts worked great. did you know the little blondie kicking a ball in part two is my favorite point guard, shot ten years ago.

    April 14, 2012 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Myles Moll

    click here


    September 11, 2016 at 10:22 | Report abuse | Reply

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