Unhealthy food ads aimed at black and Hispanic kids

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By Shamard Charles, M.D.

A report released on Tuesday finds that junk food advertising continues to disproportionately target black and Hispanic youth, contributing to health disparities.

From 2013 to 2017, spending on TV advertising for restaurants, food and beverages decreased by 4 percent overall, the researchers found, while spending for programs directed at black teens increased by 50 percent, underlining the disparity in exposure to advertising between white and black youth.

“Food companies hardly ever market fruit and vegetables, water or healthy juices,” said Jennifer Harris, a lead author of the study and director of marketing initiatives for the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. “The money put towards such advertisements is less than 3 percent for the general population and less than 1 percent to blacks and Hispanics.”

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