For young Americans, the "food landscape" in television advertising is packed with junk food, according to a new study.
The study by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is the first to explore the nutritional composition of foods advertised to children using Nutrition Facts labeling.
Nutrient-poor high-sugar foods – candy, sweets and soft drinks – dominate (nearly 44 percent) the foods advertised during the TV programs children ages 6 to 11 watch most, the analysis found. Convenience/fast foods made up 34.2 percent of the advertisements during the programs.
Harrison and Marske also evaluated the nutritional content of food advertised to adults during the most popular TV shows. They found that those ads were dominated (57.1 percent) by convenience/fast foods, fat and sodium.
"An individual eating a 2,000-calorie diet composed of the general-audience foods would consume considerably more than the RDVs of fat, saturated fat and sodium, while ingesting only a fraction of the RDVs of fiber, vitamin C, calcium and iron."
Harrison said kids consumption of TV ads that tout poor food choices is especially troubling because childhood obesity is on the rise, TV advertising influences childrens food purchases and purchase requests, and kids see so many TV food ads a day.
Harrison and Marske tallied an average of 10.65 food advertisements per hour in their sample. Other research has found that preteens watch on average nearly three hours of television a day, meaning that "the typical child aged 6-11 years would be exposed to approximately 11,000 food advertisements each year."
The researchers taped 40 hours of TV programming that aired in north-central Illinois between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for five weeks. Programs were rated most popular nationwide among viewers aged 6-11 years according to Nielsen Media Research.
The sample consisted of the 10 most-viewed hours from each of four sources: cable programs such as "SpongeBob SquarePants"; Saturday network programs such as "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles"; syndicated programs such as "Everybody Loves Raymond"; and network primetime programs such as "American Idol."
The sample yielded 1,424 advertisements, 426 (or 29.9 percent) of them for food products.
The researchers then coded each ad as being aimed at a child or an adult audience; foods by type; verbal or visual health-related messages; and characteristics of all human characters.
The second part of the analysis focused on the nutritional breakdown of the advertised foods using data obtained from Nutrition Facts labels.
Heavily advertised foods included Burger King Kids Meal chicken tenders, Jell-O Pudding Bites (chocolate and vanilla), McDonalds Happy Meal french fries, Post Fruity Pebbles cereal and Wendys Kids Meal crispy chicken nuggets.
Despite the heavy marketing of such foods, Harrison and her co-author say "parental involvement is the most important factor in the determination of the family diet." "Parents can work to maintain the integrity of the family pantry not only through selective shopping, but also through efforts to instruct their children about food and nutrition."
Also, because research demonstrates a connection between TV viewing and obesity for children and adults alike, parents could curb eating in their household by limiting their childrens – and their own – television viewing.
Other adults should join parents in the "food fight" to combat childhood obesity, Harrison said. The food industry and advertisers, for example, "bear some responsibility for peddling nutritionally inadequate foods so aggressively to kids."
"Also, the continued investment of the medical and public health communities will be needed if parents are to be successful in helping their children resist the influence of commercial food advertising."
Andrea Lynn | EurekAlert!
Product placement: Only brands placed very prominently benefit from 3D technology
07.07.2016 | Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
NASA Goddard network maintains communications from space to ground
02.03.2016 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences