Web ads raise concerns advertisers impact on childhood obesity
BY ANDREA VALDEZ
Medill News ServiceSixteen percent of American children age six to 11 are diagnosed as obese, according to the Center for Disease Control. Experts point to several contributing factors for why 9 million children are overweight, but the effects online food marketing have on children’s eating habits and lifestyles has become a hot topic for the Federal Trade Commission, the Institute of Medicine and other concerned groups. Yet there have been no public studies done on the subject.
On Wednesday the Kaiser Family Foundation, a non-profit, private foundation based in California that focuses on major health care issues, released the first analysis of online food marketing advertising targeted to children.
The report, titled “It’s Child’s Play: Advergaming and the Online Marketing of Food to Children” produced some significant findings. For example, 85 percent of the brands that use television advertising aimed at children also have Web sites that do the same, or they host content that would be of interest to children.