Marketing and Health:
Kids are exposed to more commercial marketing than ever before:
- Marketing of food and beverages to children in Canada is largely self-regulated by the same industries that profit from this practice!
- In 2010, the World Health Organization called on its member nations to reduce the impact of marketing of foods high in saturated fats, sugars or salt to children.
- 61% of popular children’s websites market food and beverages high in sugar, sodium and saturated fats
- As much as 90% of food and beverages marketed on TV are high in salt, fat, sugar or calories
- New research lead by Dr. Monique Potvin Kent reveals three-quarters of children in Canada are exposed to food marketing while using their favourite social media applications. The majority of these ads are for ultra-processed foods and beverages high in fat, salt or sugar. The study looked at the most popular social media apps that kids and teens (ages 7-16 years) access using smartphones and tablets: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube.
Research has shown that food and beverage marketing has an impact on:
- The foods children eat.
- Their food preferences and beliefs.
- The foods they pester their parents to buy.
- Rising rates of childhood obesity.
- Increased risk factors for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers.
Worsening health trends in Canada:
- In Canada, over 1/4 of children and youth age 5 to 19 say they consume sugary drinks every day.
- Almost one in three children have overweight or obesity, a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.
- Canadian kids’ risk factors for premature heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes are at epidemic levels.
- Over the past 70 years, consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods in Canada has doubled, from 30% of the average family’s food purchases to 60%.
- Most of the sodium Canadians consume (77%) comes from processed foods sold in grocery stores and food service outlets.
The Extent of the Problem:
- In 2009 alone, food and beverage companies spent about $1.79 billion in the US on marketing to children and teens. [We do not have access to this stat for Canada as our governments don’t require companies to report on their marketing to kids expenditures, and companies haven’t disclosed this information].
- 90% of products advertised during children’s TV programming are high in sugar, salt or saturated fat.
- In a 13-country comparison, Canada had the third-highest proportion of unhealthy food marketing to children on television.
- Canadian children and teens’ specialty TV channels stream as many as five food and beverage ads per station per hour. This means that a child or teenager, watching two hours of TV per day, is likely to be exposed to 3,600 ads each year from TV alone!
- The foods most heavily advertised to children on specialty TV channels are fast food, candy and chocolate, cakes, cookies and ice cream.
- The foods most advertised to teens on specialty channels include juices, soft drinks and sports drinks, fast food, candy and chocolate.