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Report Slams Makers of Sugary Drinks for Targeting Kids
Date:10/31/2011

almost 600 products.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Lots of fruit drinks and energy drinks contain as much sugar and calories as full-calorie sodas.
  • Forty percent of kids' fruit drinks contain artificial sweeteners.
  • More than half of sugary drinks and energy drinks make nutrient-related claims on their packages. Sixty-four percent say they contain "all-natural" or "real" ingredients.
  • Energy drinks are not appropriate for children and teens, but they are heavily marketed to them. In 2010, teens were exposed to 18 percent more TV ads and 46 percent more radio ads for energy drinks than adults. In 2010, teens saw 20 percent more TV ads for energy drinks than they did in 2008.
  • Although the industry promised not to market unhealthy drinks to children, exposure to full-calorie soda TV ads doubled from 2008 to 2010.
  • Companies target black and Hispanic children and teens. Black children and teens saw up to 90 percent more ads compared with whites. Between 2008 and 2010, Hispanic kids watching Spanish-language TV saw 49 percent more ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks, and Hispanic teens saw 99 percent more ads.

Reacting to the report, Susan K. Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association, said in a statement that "the people at our member companies -- many of whom are parents themselves -- are delivering on their commitment to advertise only water, juice and milk on programming for children under 12."

"In fact, recent research supports that there has been a dramatic change in food and beverage advertising during children's programming, with advertisements for soft drinks decreasing by 96 percent between 2004 and 2010 alone," she said. "This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated."

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