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We Aren't Even a Little Surprised

By Laura Oppenheimer in Food on Sep 5, 2007 4:00PM

In light of last week's news that almost a quarter of Ilinoisians are obese, should a new study that found that 98% of all food advertised to children between the ages of two and 11 was high in sugar, fat or sodium really surprise us? 2007_9_tvkid.jpgSlightly less alarming (but only slightly) was the finding that 89.4% of food-product advertisements viewed by 12-to-17 year olds, were high in fat, sugar, or sodium. The study was conducted by UIC and Bridge the Gap, a research group funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

"We know that foods marketed to kids can be high in sugar," lead researcher Lisa M. Powell told Advertising Age. "The fact that it's essentially all of them was surprising."

To do the study, the three researchers watched nearly 10,000 commercials. (TiVo? Anyone?) They then weighed the nutritional content of the food advertised against television rating to measure "the actual exposure measures of the nutritional content of food advertising seen by children and adolescents." The study is the first to use television ratings to measure exposure. One caveat with the study is that it was conducted in 2003 and 2004, before 11 large corporations like General Mills and Campbell pledged to stop marketing unhealthy foods to children.

Our bet? If you did this study in 2007, you'd find the exact same results.

Image via the Daily Mail.