Study Finds Nearly All Food Products Advertised on Spanish-Language Kids Shows Are Junk
“Spend a little time watching children’s TV programs and you’ll see lots of commercials for high-fat, sugary foods that health officials don’t want you or your kids to eat. Watch Spanish-language programming and you’ll see even more.” -- Rob Waters, Forbes.com
What happens when 84 percent of the foods that young kids see advertised on TV are for products that are downright unhealthy? And when those foods are promoted by their favorite cartoon characters? It’s a recipe for bad health that may last a lifetime, causing diabetes, heart disease and a host of other conditions.
So say the authors of a newly released study on junk-food marketing on Spanish-language TV. As PI’s Rob Waters reports in his latest Forbes column, the research, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, found Latino children are being bombarded with commercials for junk foods, sugary drinks and fast-food restaurants.
Experts agree that junk food is a huge contributor to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and even strokes. Food and beverage companies spend nearly $2 billion a year promoting unhealthy foods to kids virtually everywhere they go. Since many Latino children live in families where both parents work, and in neighborhoods where it’s unsafe to play outside, “television is the only supervision available,” said Xavier Morales, executive director of Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “They become a captive audience for food marketers.”