Friday, November 08, 2013

How Fast Food Restaurants Market To Kids

Less Than 1% Of "Kids Meals" Meet Nutrition Standards

A new report by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the nutritional quality of fast food and how restaurants market their foods and beverages to children and teens.

The report examines 18 of the top restaurant chains in the U.S., and updates a similar report released in 2010. On average, U.S. preschoolers viewed 2.8 fast food ads on TV every day in 2012; children aged 6-11 years viewed 3.2 ads per day; and teens viewed 4.8 ads per day.

Fast food restaurants continued to target black and Hispanic youth, populations at high risk for obesity and related diseases, say the researchers.

A total of $4.6 billion was spent on all advertising by fast food restaurants in 2012. This was an 8 percent increase over 2009. McDonald's spent 2.7 times as much to advertise its products as all fruit, vegetable, bottled water, and milk advertisers combined.

Less than 1 percent of all kids’ meal combinations met recommended nutrition standards.

Researcher say that while some improvements have been made, there is more work to be done to improve the overall nutritional quality of fast food.  Additionally, the researchers call for fast food restaurants to stop targeting children and teens with marketing that encourages frequent visits to these restaurants.

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