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Your Kids Watch More Fast Food Ads on TV, Even On PBS, Than You Think

hink you're making a wise choice by limiting your son or daughter's TV time to children's cableoutlets and PBS? An Ohio mother and medical researcher at a Clevelandhospital launched a study about the commercials during programs aimedat preschoolers, partly after her 3-year-old began humming the McDonald's sales jingle.

A look at the numbers this researcher collected, based randomlyselected four-hour morning programming blocks on PBS, Disney andNickelodeon aimed specifically at toddlers and preschoolers, proved howwrong she was...

  • The three networks aired 130 food-related ads, or 1.3 commercials during each half-hour programming block.
  • More than half of those food commercials were specifically geared toward kids, and most were for fast-food chains (50) and sweetened cereals (18).
  • Fast food chains -- think McDonald's -- accounted for an amazing 82 percent of the advertising/sponsor messages on PBS and 36 percent on the Disney Channel.

No wonder, the FCC announced plans to study the link between food ads, the addictive viewing habits of American kids and childhood obesity.

Pediatrics, Vol. 188, No. 4, October 2006: 1478-1485

New York Times October 2, 2006 Registration Required

MSNBC September 27, 2006