Online US Youth, Targeted by Softdrink Companies

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In a study released last Monday, it has been reported that U.S. children and teenagers tend to see far more soda advertising than before. Blacks and Hispanics are also the main targets of the soft drinks manufacturing companies upon their online expansion.

The report came from the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. It also said that a lot of fruit and energy drinks which have become popular to a lot of teenagers have a lot of added sugar and the same number of calories as that of regular soda drinks.

“Our children are being assaulted by these drinks that are high in sugar and low in nutrition,” said Yale’s Kelly Brownell, co-author of the report. “The companies are marketing them in highly aggressive ways.”

The exposure of children and teenagers to full calorie soda advertisements on televisions have been observed to have doubled from the year 2008 to 2010. Most of the increase in advertisements have been attributed to Coca Cola products and Dr. Pepper Snapply Group, Inc, says the report. On the other hadn, the children were exposed to about 22% fewer advertisements for Pepsi drinks.

Black children and teenagers have about 80 to 90 percent more advertisement exposure than white children. This also included twice as many numbers for the five hour energy drink and Coca Cola vitamin water and Sprite.

Children of the Hispanic race also saw about 49% more advertisements for sugary and energy drinks by means of Spanish language advertisements. Hispanic teens also saw 99% more ads.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention said that about 15% of children are already overweight and obese, and that children today will most likely have a shorter lifespan than those of their parents. This would greatly affect their ability to work, pay taxes and do productive activities. The healthcare costs is also expected to raise.

Back in 2010, teenagers saw 18% more TV ads and hear about 46 % more radio ads for energy drinks, compared to what adults have heard. In their attempt to battle proposed taxes on their products, the American Beverage Association have disputed the findings of the study.

“This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated,” the group’s Chief Executive Officer Susan Neely said in a statement.

According to the report, 21 sugary drink brands had YouTube channels in 2010, and have had more than 229 millions views as of June 2011. In terms of social networking sites like Facebook, Coca Cola is the most popular brand with about 30 million fans.

According to Coca-Cola, “We have a policy of not marketing to children younger than 12.”

“This means that we do not buy advertising directly targeted at audiences that are made up of more than 35 percent children under 12,” Coca-Cola said in a statement. “This policy applies to all of our beverage brands and to a wide range of media outlets, including television, radio and print, as well as cinema, the Internet, product placement and mobile phones.”




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