As children move into adolescence and begin to watch more youth programming, such as the music video programming offered by BET and MTV, they continue to be exposed to advertisements for food in less-healthful categories. Eighty percent of MTV food commercials were for fast food restaurants, sugar-added beverages, and sweets.
This is the first study of food advertising in Spanish-language American programming. Although the likelihood of an advertisement being for a food product did not differ between English- and Spanish- language networks, commercials on Spanish-language programming were more likely to be for alcohol and fast-food restaurants, which together account for a majority of the food commercials on these networks. These messages are being presented at a time when Hispanics in America are becoming increasingly obese.
In contrast, fruits, vegetables, and juices were advertised in only 1.7% of the commercials. Only one nutrition-related public service announcement was found for every 63 food ads.
Writing in the article, the authors state, "Study after study has documented the adverse health effects of food advertising targeting children and adolescents. Health educators need to develop and evaluate comprehensive nutrition programs that augment nutritional education with media use reduction strategies to lessen exposure to ads. School- and family-based programs that have attempted to reduce children's media use have shown promise.
Reduced media use is insufficient by itself, for food advertising has increased in other types of media children use, such as the Internet. Thus efforts should also be made to introduce media literacy training into nutrition progr
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Elsevier Health Sciences