• Study: TV Ads Nutritionally Unhealthy For Kids

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    The tragic problem of childhood obesity has been increasing to almost epidemic levels in the United States and worldwide. Obesity is a dangerous condition for both the mental and physical health of kids. Poor lifestyles and poor diets are contributing to the problem of childhood obesity. Recent research suggests that TV advertisements directed at kids is making this problem a lot worse by playing up unhealthy foods and beverages.

    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.

    The study is published in the December issue of the journal Childhood Obesity.

    Using Nielsen TV ratings data from 2009, UIC researchers examined children's exposure to food and beverage ads seen on all — both adult and children's — programming. It also looked at the nutritional content of ads on children's shows with a child-audience share of 35 percent or greater, the first study to do so.

    The researchers assessed the nutritional content of products advertised — cereals, sweets, snacks, beverages and other foods — and whether they fit the proposed voluntary nutrition guidelines recommended by the Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children. The proposed federal guidelines, a joint effort of the Federal Trade Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, …

    More and more kids than ever before appear to be addicted to junk food. The combination of increased exposure to junk food on TV advertisements and online is helping to create an epidemic out of this problem. Children must be encouraged to spend less time just watching TV and socializing and playing games online, and more time outside in the fresh air getting more exercise. And parents and teachers should work hard to counter misinformation about the nutritional value of junk food seen in advertisements, while initiatives continue to make advertising of food and beverages more responsible.


    Staff Writer

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