Children see fewer ads for sweets, drinks

CHICAGO, July 7 (UPI) -- U.S. children are exposed to fewer television advertisements for sweets and beverages but they are exposed to more fast-food ads, researchers found.

Lisa M. Powell and colleagues at the University of Illinois at Chicago studied television Nielsen ratings for 2003, 2005 and 2007.


From 2003 to 2007, daily average exposure to TV food ads decreased by 13.7 percent among children ages 2-5 and 3.7 percent among children ages 6-11, but increased by 3.7 percent among teens ages 12-17. Ads for sweets became less frequent, with a 41 percent decrease in exposure for 2- to 5-year-olds, 29 percent for 6- to 11-year-olds and 12 percent for 12- to 17-year-olds.

Beverage ads also decreased in frequency -- about 30 percent across age groups.

However, exposure to fast-food ads increased from 2003 to 2007, with a 5 percent increase among children ages 2-5, 12.2 percent among children 6-11 and 20.4 percent among teens ages 12-17.

"Children have been found to recognize brand logos at very young ages and a recent study found that preschoolers exhibited significantly higher preferences for food and beverage items in branded versus plain packaging," the researchers said in a statement.


The findings are published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

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