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!
Arguments, Emotions, and News distribution in social media - Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Tübingen
04.05.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien
High Number of Science Enthusiasts in Switzerland
05.02.2018 | Universität Zürich
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.
The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Life Sciences
23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy