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Advertising Unhealthy Foods to Children

  • By: Andrew Cheyne, Pamela Mejia & Lori Dorfman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Despite the efforts of nutrition advocates and health educators, the major source of children's education about food in the United States is from food and beverage industry companies who saturate children's message environment with advertising of unhealthy products. Most food and beverage advertising to children is for unhealthy products, and this marketing is linked to overweight and obesity. African American and Latino children and adolescents—who experience higher rates of overweight, obesity, and diet-related chronic diseases—are exposed to higher levels of unhealthy food and beverage marketing than their white counterparts. Health advocates have suggested a variety of policy options to improve children's message environments, but food and media industry opposition has been fierce. The primary policy approach, therefore, has been voluntary industry self-regulation, which independent research ...

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