Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Fight Against TV Food Advertising to Children Continues: with New KFF Report

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report on child-targeted TV food advertising yesterday, lending even more support to the various organizations and US politicians currently pushing for increased regulation of children's television and marketing (within the context of the fight against childhood obesity). Food for Thought: Television Food Advertising to Children in the United States represents the largest study ever conducted on kids' TV food advertising. It also includes a bunch of useful new statistics on kids' viewing habits, such as top ten network by age category, and amount of television consumed by the different age groups. Some of the study's key findings include:

- Children's exposure to food ads is substantial and varies by age. Children aged 8-12, for example, watch more television than any other group, and therefore see more food ads than other age groups. The authors and literature show that this group is also the most likely to be affected because this is an age where personal food habits start to develop, as kids in this age group begin to spend more time (and meals) away from home, increasingly buy food/snacks with their own money, etc.

- Ads for food and beverages (continue to) dominate US children's television advertising. According to the report, "Food is the most widely advertised product on the networks in the study, and among children’s shows, fully half (50%) of all ad time is for food. Furthermore, most of these food ads promote foods that are unhealthy--fast food, junk food, candy and sugar cereal. None of the ads reviewed were for fruits and vegetables.

- Only 15% of child-directed food ads depict a physically active lifestyle.

- 19% of child-directed food ads try to entice young viewers with incentives, such as free gifts or prizes (a practice that was recently prohibited in the UK).

- Only 10% of child-directed food ads feature a known children's media-character (from TV, film, etc.).

- Low priority ad space for public-service announcements means that children under 8 years see about one PSA promoting fitness or nutrition for every 26 commercial food ads. For tweens, it's one PSA per 48 food ads. For teens, it's one PSA for every 130 food ads.

No comments: