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A Quarter Century of TV Food Advertising Targeted at Children

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Objective: To analyze current trend in television advertising targeted to children, and to compare results to the historical perspective of the last quarter century. Methods: Sixteen videotaped hours of Saturday morning children's programming on 4 network channels were evaluated for commercial content based on Food Guide Pyramid and USDA Child Nutrition criteria. Results: Of 353 commercials analyzed, 63% were for food products. Overall nutritional quality of commercials remains poor, promoting a high-fat, low-fiber diet. Conclusion: Children's television food advertising continues to send inappropriate nutrition messages with no improvement noted in 25 years. As it appears this is unlikely to change, health educators are challenged to involve parents in helping their children become more educated consumers.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Delaware, Newark, DE.

Publication date: 1999-07-01

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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