It's no secret that fast-food and soda companies disproportionately advertise to children in minority communities — but just how pervasive is this problem really?
Well, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, it's worse than we ever thought. By calculating the percentage of ads for unhealthy products that appeared on Spanish-language channels and shows targeted at African-Americans, they were able to conduct a comprehensive study of the ads purchased by the biggest chains and food brands.
"Unfortunately," they write, "the majority of brands targeted to youth of color are nutritionally poor products that can be harmful to their health."
Here are some of the major highlights (or, rather, lowlights) of the study, from the press release:
- Overall, black youth saw 70% more food-related TV ads (with only 1% of them devoted to healthy foods) and at least twice as many ads for candy, sugary drinks, and snacks as did their white counterparts.
- Three brands advertised heavily on Spanish-language television did not even appear at all on English-language broadcasts.
- A total of 48 brands disproportionately targeted TV ads at black or Hispanic youth.
OK, so the companies know what sells best where. The problem is that this type of marketing is certainly creating gaping health disparities between races and ethnicities. Disturbing, huh?
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