Junk Food Ads Heavily Target Young Minorities

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Food and beverage companies and restaurants target African-American and Hispanic children, teens, and young adults with television ads for unhealthy foods and drinks, finds a report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut in Hartford, the Council on Black Health at Drexel University in Philadelphia, and Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

Researchers analyzed TV ad spending by food companies and restaurants and young people's exposure to this advertising. They identified ads targeting all children and adolescents, and those targeting Hispanic young people on Spanish-language television and in primarily African-American viewing markets. They found that ads for fast food, sugary drinks, and snacks high in sugar, fat, and/or sodium make up 86 percent of advertising dollars spent in primarily African-American television markets and 82 percent of total ad spending on Spanish-speaking television channels. In 2017, this spending totaled about $1.1 billion out of a $11 billion in television advertising costs.

From 2013 to 2017, researchers determined that food companies increased African-American-targeted spending on television ads by more than 50 percent, while total TV advertising spending decreased by 4 percent overall. They estimate African American teens were exposed to more than twice as many ads for unhealthy foods and drinks as white teens in 2017.

Sourced from: UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity