Study: Kids Inundated with Unhealthy Food Choices in Advergames

An analysis of restaurant, beverage and food websites advertised on the Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon between August 2006 and March 2007 led researchers to recommend that food companies come up with—and adhere to—uniform guidelines for marketing their products to children.

UC Davis researchers Diana Cassady and Jennifer Culp scrutinized 19 websites, 290 webpages and 247 advergames, according to a story on Science Daily. 84 percent of the websites featured online games, which were described as a “strategy to encourage ongoing and return website visits. Every single advergame also contained at least one brand identifier.

Additionally, messages promoting nutrition or physical activity were displayed, on average, only once for every 45 brand identifiers shown.

Cassady stated, “Without effective self-regulation, the federal government should definitely step in and set requirements for food companies that target children.”

Culp added, “Advergames are clearly a means of casting food with few health benefits in a positive way and potentially priming kids for a lifetime of unhealthy food preferences."

Also, today is National Donut Day.

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