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Junk Food Ads Galore On Kid Websites

If you're a parent of a child, you may be shocked to learn that researchers have found of the 28 most frequented children websites, 49 of the 77 food product advertisements found in a recent viewing met experts' criteria for "foods to avoid." This included advertisements for sodas, candies, sugar-rich cereals as well as fast food restaurants. Another 23 fell into a neutral category as they weren't considered junk foods but also weren't nutritional enough for their consumption to be encouraged. The five remaining food ads were foods that children are encouraged to eat and included pure fruit juice, milk and oatmeal. TV ads have long since been under fire for marketing junk food to children and teens and it now appears the web could be far worse. Many food companies have started utilizing "advergames" to increase traffic and further promote their products to children and teens. Advergames are online games often incorporating the companies' products in order to further influence their eating choices. Parents must pay extra special attention to their child's online activity and beware of the consequences of allowing children to visit even seemingly acceptable and safe child-related websites.

Source: American Journal of Public Health, November 2009.