foiling kids' food ads

by Diane Lofshult on May 18, 2010

Food for Thought

Here’s the good news: Efforts to reduce the number of TV ads that entice kids to crave sugary cereals and snacks have largely paid off.

Now the bad news: Cross-promotions on food packaging targeted at children have increased by a whopping 78% between 2006 and 2008, according to a study from Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy.

Cross-promotions aimed at kids typically use licensed cartoon and movie characters as well as tie-ins to other TV shows, sports teams, theme parks, toys and games. Rather than buying conventional ads that appear in between kids’ TV programs, these sly cross-promotions prominently feature unhealthy products as a part of the story line and programming.

Next time you’re watching a show with your kids, check for the subliminal promotions that show TV characters and actors munching on M&Ms® candy or quaffing branded sugary beverages. And take a moment to point out such flagrant examples to your impressionable brood and teach them how to avoid being duped by these crass cross-promotions.

Fitness Journal, Volume 7, Issue 6

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About the Author

Diane Lofshult

Diane Lofshult IDEA Author/Presenter

Diane Lofshult is an award-winning freelance author who specializes in nutrition and weight management topics. She is the founder of In Other Words, an editorial consulting firm based in Solana Beach, California. Reach her at