November 2nd, 2015

Increase in Unhealthy Snack Ads for Black Kids

By Shantell E. Jamison

Black, Hispanic children exposed at disproportionally higher rates than whites

According to a study conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, children saw substantially more television advertising for unhealthy snack foods in the past five years, despite industry pledges to self-regulate. Researchers analyzed data from 2010 to 2014, and discovered that children’s and teens’ exposure to TV ads for snacks such as cookies, chips, and fruit snacks increased over that time-period.

Companies have developed some healthier snacks to meet updated national nutrition standards for snacks sold in schools (Smart Snacks), but with the exception of yogurt, these healthier alternatives were not advertised to children on TV. “Companies have recognized the business opportunity in marketing healthy snacks to children and teens in schools. Now they must also recognize that aggressive marketing of unhealthy snack foods to young people is not worth the cost to children’s health,” said Jennifer Harris, Ph.D., an author of the study and the Rudd Center’s Director of Marketing Initiatives.

Black and Hispanic children are also disproportionately targeted for unhealthy snacks much more than their white counterparts.



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