Study Blasts Advertisers for Unhealthy Food Ads for Kids

Sadly, exactly the audience that shouldn't be showered with high-fat ads for food is exactly the one getting them.  Even sadder, it's their kids the advertisers are after.

A new study has found that the majority of ads found on Spanish-languagae TV channels are for food that is not healthy, according to

 notes that Latinos have one of the highest obesity rates in the nation and these commercials are not at all productive or helpful.

Carrero pointed out in her article that Dale Kunkel, Professor of Communication at the University of Arizona at Tucson and the lead author of the study, "said that researchers used an independent food rating system by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to designate foods as healthy or unhealthy."

The HHS used a clever scale to measure foods' capacity to for calories. Carrero reported that scale goes from “'go'” foods that are low in fat and calories to 'slow' foods that should be eaten sometimes to 'whoa' foods that are high in fat, sugar, and calories and low in nutrition."

The "whoa" foods are the ones most often advertised on Spanish-language stations. In addition, more than three-quarters or 78 percent of all Spanish language food ads "used popular cartoon characters to market foods that fell in the 'whoa' category," Carrero noted. What about kids who speak English? Slightly less than half were exposed to "whoa" food commercials. 

Kunkel told Carrero that television marketing executives have realized the need for ads for healthier foods for kids' programs and stations, but this retargeting hasn't really worked out as planned.  So what's the answer?  No one is quite sure.  Perhaps more parental involvement, more exercise, more education, or some combination all three.


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