Study: Black Children More Exposed to Junk Food Ads

junkA recent study has revealed that fast-food chains, snack vendors and soda makers are creating more and more junk food ads that target black teens and children.

According to News One, the findings were released by researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity via the Pediatric Obesity journal. The main focus of the study is that African American youth see more junk food ads than Caucasian children; up to 50 percent more among black teens.


The research team stated that “all children saw more TV and beverage ads in 2012 than in 2008, even though the amount of time kids spend watching TV has basically stayed the same.”

The study goes further to suggest that the marketing disparity has “a great deal” to do with the network or channel choices that African American youngsters make on a regular basis. The Washington Post noted:

Compared to their white peers, black children spend far more time watching “youth-targeted” and “black-targeted” networks, such as Fuse, Nick-at-Nite, BET and VH1. These are also the networks, researchers found, that air the most food advertisements.

Frances Fleming-Milici, a marketing researcher at the Rudd Center and the lead author on the new report, does not believe that is a coincidence.

“Determining the intentions of [food] companies is challenging,” she said. “But we use the same data that companies use to place their ads. Ads are placed to reach a certain demographic.”

What we understand from this “study” is that, on the one hand, it supposedly seeks to expose junk food companies for targeting a particular ethnic group; yet at the same time, it seems to fault young African Americans for their own exposure to such ads, claiming that “they air more on black-targeted channels.”

The latter, readers, is complete and utter bullshit. Those researchers know damn well that junk food ads run just as often on networks and channels not targeted to a black audience; I’m sure many of you can bear witness of this. The real question here is what is the motive behind junk food companies’ targeting of young black people. Is it rooted in the stereotypical view that blacks are more prone to junk food consumption than whites, or does it aim to achieve a more sinister end?

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this “study.” Sound off in the comments.

By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani


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