Self regulated food advertising to kids appears unsuccessful in improving the nutritional quality of food marketed to children.
The Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative was formed in 2009 to market healthy foods only to children. 17 of the country’s largest food companies are members. Company specified nutritional standards were to be met by the products featured in child directed advertising.
Researchers systematically analyzed the content of food advertising on children’s shows before and after the initiative. Results showed that 80.5% of all food ads on children’s TV shows in 2013 were for low nutritional value foods, in comparison to 79.4% in 2008.
“With a persistent national obesity crisis, the failure to act more strongly holds adverse implications for America’s children. As the [Institute of Medicine] suggested in 2006, governmental restrictions on advertising practices will likely be required to end the predominance of unhealthy products in child-targeted food marketing,” the researchers noted in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine