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Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2007 Jun;161(6):553-60.

Exposure to food advertising on television among US children.

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  • 1Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1747 W Roosevelt Ave, Room 558, Mail Code 275, Chicago, IL 60608, USA.



To examine exposure to food advertising on television (TV) among children aged 2 through 11 years.


Weighted examination of the distribution of national advertisements (ads) using TV ratings data.


National ads from 170 top-rated TV shows viewed by children aged 2 through 11 years from September 1, 2003, through May 31, 2004.


Sample of 224,083 ads.


Television nonprogram content time was assessed across 6 mutually exclusive categories that included food products, non-fast food restaurants, fast food restaurants, other products, public service announcements, and TV promotions. Food advertising was assessed according to 7 food categories--cereal, snacks, sweets, beverages, fast food restaurants, non-fast food restaurants, and other food products--and then examined across more detailed categories.


In 2003-2004, 27.2% and 36.4% of children's exposure to total nonprogram content time and product advertising, respectively, was for food-related products. Similar distributions were found by race. Cereal was the most frequently seen food product, making up 27.6% of all food ads. Comparisons with previous studies suggest that, over time, food ads account for a smaller share of the product ads seen by US children.


Children aged 2 through 11 years are exposed to a substantial amount of food advertising through TV, but the dramatic increase in childhood obesity rates during the past few decades was not mirrored by similar changes in food advertising exposure. However, we found evidence of a very recent (2000-2005) upward trend in the amount of exposure to food advertising on TV among US children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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