MONDAY, July 5 (HealthDay News) -- American children are seeing
fewer TV ads for candy and beverages, but more fast food
commercials, finds a new study.
To assess the effect of a 2006 U.S. business-sponsored
initiative aimed at reducing child-targeted ads for unhealthy foods
and beverages, researchers analyzed TV ratings data for 2003, 2005
and 2007. Between 2003 and 2007, daily exposure to food commercials
decreased by 13.7 percent among children ages 2 to 5 and 3.7
percent among children ages 6 to 11, but increased by 3.7 percent
for youngsters ages 12 to 17.
The study, released online July 5, is published in the September
print issue of the journal
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Exposure to ads for sweets decreased 41 percent for children
ages 2 to 5, 29.3 percent for those ages 6 to 11 and 12.1 percent
for those ages 12 to 17. Exposure to ads for beverages decreased 27
percent to 30 percent across all age groups, including a sharp drop
in ads for previously heavily advertised sugar-sweetened
But the study found that exposure to fast food ads increased 4.7
percent for children ages 2 to 5, 12.2 percent for those ages 6 to
11, and 20.4 percent for those ages 12 to 17, according to a news
release from the publisher.
The University of Illinois at Chicago researchers also
identified a racial gap in children's exposure to TV ads. In 2007,
black children saw 1.4 to 1.6 times more food ads per day than
white children, and their rate of exposure to fast food ads was
more than double that of their white peers.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has more about