November 7, 2011

The ever present world of advertising is dramatically affecting our population. In a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy we see a persistent effort by companies that produce high calorie, low quality sugar beverages to target children.

"Beverage companies have pledged to improve child-directed advertising," said lead researcher Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center. "But we are not seeing a true decrease in marketing exposure. Instead companies have shifted from traditional media to newer forms that engage youth through rewards for purchasing sugary drinks, community events, cause-related marketing, promotions, product placements, social media, and smartphones."

In 2010, teens viewed 18% more TV adds and heard 48 % more radio adds for energy drinks than adults. From 2008 to 2010, children and teens were exposed to twice the amount of soda adds on TV. It seems that despite a pledge not to target children, these companies have continued the onslaught. Children who view the most TV are at the greatest risk.

Marketing to minorities is a major problem according to the study. Read the results and be a voice for change in your school, soccer team or anywhere.

When I coach a team, I make it clear from day 1 that sports drinks are not healthy and are not part of our teams goals. Let us go back to fruit and water after practice and games. Our parents had it right long ago.

My take home point today: Help our kids avoid excess sugar

Taking a stand,

Dr. Magryta