November 25, 2009
WASHINGTONNearly 80 percent of food ads on the children's network Nickelodeon are for foods of poor nutritional quality, according to an analysis conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). The number represents a10-percent drop from 2005, when CSPI researchers found that about 90 percent of food ads on Nick were for junk food.
Between the 2005 and 2009 studies, the food industry instituted a self-regulatory program through the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the Childrens Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI).
Of the 452 foods and beverages that companies say are acceptable to market to children, CSPI found that 267, or nearly 60 percent, do not meet CSPI's recommended nutrition standards for food marketing to children, such as General Mills' Cookie Crisp and Reeses Puffs cereals, Kellogg Apple Jacks and Cocoa Krispies cereals, Kellogg Rice Krispies Treats, Campbell's Goldfish crackers and SpaghettiOs, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and many Unilever Popsicles.
"While industry self-regulation is providing some useful benchmarks, it's clearly not shielding children from junk food advertising, on Nick and elsewhere," said CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan. "It's a modest start, but not sufficient to address childrens poor eating habits and the sky-high rates of childhood obesity."
Of the food ads on Nickelodeon, one-fourth were from companies that don't participate in the industry's self-regulatory program. Almost none of those ads were for foods that met CSPI's nutrition standards, and only 28 percent of the ads from companies in the CBBB Initiative met them.
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