Children exposed to more junk-food ads than in prior years, study finds

CHICAGO While children’s exposure to food ads on television decreased between 2003 and 2007, exposure to fast-food ads increased, according to a new study in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago analyzed trends in exposure to food advertising in 2003, 2005 and 2007 among children ages 2 to 5, 6 to 11 and 12 to 17 years.

The researchers found that daily average exposure to food ads decreased by 13.7% and 3.7% among the 2 to 5 and 6 to 11 years groups, respectively, but increased by 3.7% among those ages 12 to 17 years. Exposure to ads for sweets decreased by 41%, 29.3% and 12.1%, respectively, while exposure to beverage ads fell by around 30%.

At the same time, exposure to fast food ads increased by 4.7%, 12.2% and 20.4% in the 2 to 5, 6 to 11 and 12 to 17 years age groups, respectively.

The study appeared on the journal’s website Monday.

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