Fast-food companies aggressively target kids, says comprehensive study

Tuesday, November 23, 2010 by: Louis Lazaris
Tags: fast food, marketing, health news

eTrust Pro Certified

Most Viewed Articles
Popular on Facebook
BACK INTO THE CLOSET: Why U.S. reporters are not allowed to write about rainbow events in nations where being gay is still condemned
Depopulation test run? 75% of children who received vaccines in Mexican town now dead or hospitalized
A family destroyed: Six-month-old dies after clinic injects baby with 13 vaccines at once without mother's informed consent
Biologist explains how marijuana causes tumor cells to commit suicide
U2's Bono partners with Monsanto to destroy African agriculture with GMOs
Companies begin planting microchips under employees' skin
BAM! Chipotle goes 100% non-GMO; flatly rejecting the biotech industry and its toxic food ingredients
ECONOMIC SLAVERY FOR ALL: While we were distracted with the Confederate flag flap, Congress quietly forfeited our entire economic future via fast-track trade authority
NJ cops bust teenagers shoveling snow without a permit
Russia throws down the gauntlet: energy supply to Europe cut off; petrodollar abandoned as currency war escalates
McDonald's in global profit free fall as people everywhere increasingly reject chemically-altered toxic fast food
March Against Monsanto explodes globally... World citizens stage massive protests across 38 countries, 428 cities... mainstream media pretends it never happened
Chemotherapy kills cancer patients faster than no treatment at all
600 strains of an aerosolized thought control vaccine already tested on humans; deployed via air, food and water
Italian court rules mercury and aluminum in vaccines cause autism: US media continues total blackout of medical truth
The 21 curious questions we're never allowed to ask about vaccines
Vicious attack on Dr. Oz actually waged by biotech mafia; plot to destroy Oz launched after episode on glyphosate toxicity went viral
Orthorexia Nervosa - New mental disorder aimed at people who insist on eating a clean diet
(NaturalNews) Children and teens are viewing significantly more ads for fast food than similarly-aged children did in 2003, according to a year-long U.S. study that analyzed data on nutritional quality of food and media exposure. The study was conducted by members of the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

The findings of the research, which are available online on the website Fast Food FACTS, suggest that fast-food companies are stepping up efforts to market unhealthy meal options to children, without equally promoting satisfactory healthy alternatives.

"What we found in the marketing data is a staggering amount of fast-food advertising that starts when children are as young as two years old," said Jennifer Harris, the lead study author.

Harris said that the fast-food industry spent $4.2 billion on advertising in 2009, the year in which the study was focused. According to their research, 40% of preschoolers ask to go to McDonald's at least once a week, and 15% ask to go every day; this demonstrates that the increase in those numbers from 2003 implies a correlation between the marketing efforts and the attitudes of children towards this type of food.

According to a telephone briefing with the authors of the study, one-third of U.S. children and teens eat fast food every day, which makes up about 17% of their daily caloric intake.

"Eating at fast food restaurants is ingrained in our culture. That's why the nutritional quality of these meals is so important," said Marlene Schwartz, one of the study's co-authors.

Harris further explained that children believe that fast-food is "normal and expected" and said that the aggressive marketing of fast-food companies is the reason for this behaviour.

The fast-food companies that were analyzed do have healthier options, but these are not promoted to children and teens, even in-store. The researchers sent "mystery shoppers" into restaurants, and in 80% of cases the shoppers were automatically given fries and soda to go with meals, while healthier options were not offered.

Schwartz said in the briefing that the current generation of parents is the first to have been raised with fast-food advertisements. This exposure has led even parents to believe that fast-food is normal for children.

The study also found that fast-food marketing targets youth minorities. African American youth, for example, saw 50% more fast-food television ads and saw increasingly more websites and banner ads in 2009 than did their white counterparts.

The authors of the study hope these results will instigate new strategies including implementing restrictions for the restaurants, rather than just promoting education which "doesn't seem to be working".

In advising parents how to handle this alarming increase, Harris said: "The only way to control what kids are seeing is to turn off the TV. No matter what's on, you're going to see a lot of fast food ads."


About the author

Louis Lazaris is a website designer and the owner of, a directory that provides free business listings for natural health practitioners, organic food stores, organic farms, and organic & vegetarian restaurants in major North American cities like Toronto and New York City.

Louis also maintains a web design blog where he regularly posts articles and tutorials on web development.

Join over four million monthly readers. Your privacy is protected. Unsubscribe at any time.
comments powered by Disqus
Take Action: Support by linking back to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite with clickable link.

Follow Natural News on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and Pinterest

Colloidal Silver

Advertise with NaturalNews...

Support NaturalNews Sponsors:

Advertise with NaturalNews...


Sign up for the FREE Natural News Email Newsletter

Receive breaking news on GMOs, vaccines, fluoride, radiation protection, natural cures, food safety alerts and interviews with the world's top experts on natural health and more.

Join over 7 million monthly readers of, the internet's No. 1 natural health news site. (Source:

Your email address *

Please enter the code you see above*

No Thanks

Already have it and love it!

Natural News supports and helps fund these organizations:

* Required. Once you click submit, we will send you an email asking you to confirm your free registration. Your privacy is assured and your information is kept confidential. You may unsubscribe at anytime.