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Am J Prev Med. 2007 Jul;33(1):48-50.

Nickelodeon markets nutrition-poor foods to children.

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  • 1Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington DC 20009, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

While many factors contribute to childhood obesity and children's poor diets, food marketing affects children's food choices, preferences, their diets, and their health. The purpose of this study was to assess the nutritional quality of the foods marketed by one of the largest companies that markets food to children, Nickelodeon.

METHODS:

In fall 2005, the nutritional quality of foods advertised via Nickelodeon media and with Nickelodeon characters was assessed. The cross-sectional sample included food ads on the Nickelodeon television station and in Nickelodeon magazine, product packages with Nickelodeon characters found in one large urban grocery store, and meals at restaurants with promotions tied to Nickelodeon programs or characters.

RESULTS:

Of 168 television food ads, 148 (88%) were for foods of poor nutritional quality. Of 21 magazine food ads, 16 (76%) were for foods of poor nutritional quality. Fifteen grocery store products were identified with Nickelodeon characters on the packaging; nine (60%) were foods of poor nutritional quality. In addition, of the 48 possible children's meal combinations at restaurants with promotional offers tied to Nickelodeon programs, 45 (94%) were of poor nutritional quality.

CONCLUSIONS:

Through its food marketing, the Nickelodeon entertainment company influences the diets of millions of American children. Unfortunately, eight of ten foods, beverages, and restaurant meals advertised on Nickelodeon's television station, in its magazine, or tied to its characters are of poor nutritional quality. Rather than undermining parents' efforts to feed their children healthfully, Nickelodeon should support parents by setting nutrition standards and marketing to children only foods that meet those standards.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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