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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2010 Sep;164(9):794-802. doi: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.139. Epub 2010 Jul 5.

Trends in exposure to television food advertisements among children and adolescents in the United States.

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  • 1Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1747 W Roosevelt Ave., Chicago, IL 60608, USA.



To examine the trends in food advertising seen by American children and adolescents.


Trend analysis of children's and adolescents' exposure to food advertising in 2003, 2005, and 2007, including separate analyses by race.


Children aged 2 to 5 years and 6 to 11 years and adolescents aged 12 to 17 years.


Television ratings.


Exposure to total food advertising and advertising by food category.


Between 2003 and 2007 daily average exposure to food ads fell by 13.7% and 3.7% among young children aged 2 to 5 and 6 to 11 years, respectively, but increased by 3.7% among adolescents aged 12 to 17 years. Exposure to sweets ads fell 41%, 29.3%, and 12.1%, respectively, for 2- to 5-, 6- to 11-, and 12- to 17-year-olds and beverage ads were down by about 27% to 30% across these age groups, with substantial decreases in exposure to ads for the most heavily advertised sugar-sweetened beverages-fruit drinks and regular soft drinks. Exposure to fast food ads increased by 4.7%, 12.2%, and 20.4% among children aged 2 to 5, 6 to 11, and 12 to 17 years, respectively, between 2003 and 2007. The racial gap in exposure to food advertising grew between 2003 and 2007, particularly for fast food ads.


A number of positive changes have occurred in children's exposure to food advertising. Continued monitoring of food advertising exposure along with nutritional analyses is needed to further assess self-regulatory pledges.

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