Study: TV Ads Push Junk Food on Children

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A Kaiser Foundation study finds that half the TV commercials aimed at children in 2005 were devoted to food. And most promote junk food: candy, snacks, sugary cereals and fast food. Health officials say the ads contribute to childhood obesity. The industry says it's trying to cut back. Since 2005, 11 major companies have adopted a voluntary rule to limit ads for less-healthy products.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Today's last word in business is actually a word from our sponsor.

A new study looks at TV commercials aimed at children. The Kaiser Foundation finds that half the commercials aimed at kids are devoted to food, and most of those food commercials promote junk food: candies, snacks, sugary cereals, fast food. Not one commercial was hocking fruits or vegetables. Surprised?

Health officials say the ads contribute to childhood obesity. Food and advertising executives defend themselves by saying this study was so 2005. That's when the commercials were collected. Since then, 11 major companies have adopted a voluntary rule. They say that from now on, only half their commercials will encourage children to eat stuff that they maybe should not eat.

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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