by Marion Nestle
Apr 3 2008

Marketing junk food to kids: new research

The April issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association carries three research papers on the current state of food marketing to children. One finds that websites targeted to kids carry advertising for junk foods. One compared breakfast cereals marketed to children to those marketed to adults; the kids’ cereals had more calories, sugars, and salt but less fiber and protein (oh, great). The third looked at Saturday morning TV and found 90% of the food commercials to be for junk foods. Hmm. Doesn’t sound like much has changed since the Institute of Medicine’s call for stopping all this (or at least slowing it down). Time to hold food companies accountable, I think.

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  • Not to mention that the kids’ cereals that are high in sugar are the ones with the coolest toys.

  • Ashley

    And I love the food ad (Danimals- natural probiotic drink) in the journal that is marketed at children.

  • Advertising companies have only one agenda, and that is to sell a product, whether it be a new SUV, a patented drug, or a food or food product. The health of the product is not a factor in it being sold. If the item has good sales, the advertising company and the food agency both make a profit. This relationship disconnects the public from knowledge of what is actually good and healthy to eat.

    There are some resources developed to help people reconnect to their food and the sources of their food. I intern for the Eat Well Guide (, an organization dedicated to connecting the public to sustainable farms, markets, co-ops, caterers and other organizations promoting sustainable agriculture and food production. Knowing good food that is available in your neighborhood helps to demystify food policy and issues surrounding what to eat.