The finding comes from a study of 27.5 hours of children’s programs that ran on a single Saturday morning — May 7, 2005 — in Washington, D.C. During that time, advertisers inserted more than four hours of ads, half of which marketed food or restaurants to kids.
Most foods advertised to children are:
- High in added sugars (59% of ads)
- High in total fat content (19% of ads)
- High in sodium (18% of ads)
- High in saturated or trans fats
The study also pointed out the positive as well. It noted that:
- 42% percent of ads that promoted non-nutritious foods offered health or nutrition messages, too.
- 47% of the food ads promoted exercise , such as the Cheetos ad that showed kids wakeboarding after eating the cheese-flavored snack.
- 76% of the ads had explicit health messages, such as the one noting that cereals are only “part of a complete/balanced/nutritious breakfast.”
Even though the The Children’s Advertising Review Unit was setup up by advertisers to be a self-monitoring system, the group’s director notes that it is not in the health business.
“[CARU] was not established to be the arbiter of what products should or should not be manufactured, sold, or marketed to children, or to decide what foods are ‘healthy,’ or to tell parents or children what they should or shouldn’t buy,” the letter states. It goes on to note that “food products are not inherently dangerous or inappropriate — all foods may be safely incorporated into a balanced diet .”
Sounds like everyone is trying to pass the buck.