Does Food and Beverage Marketing Influence Children's Food Choices?

Food and beverage companies market extensively to children, even those as young as two. While industry self-regulation has made some progress toward promoting healthier choices, youths still are exposed to heavy advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages.

Federal policymakers are beginning to address the issue. In April 2011, an interagency group representing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention proposed voluntary nutrition principles. The principles state that marketing should bolster healthier choices, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and that unhealthy fats, sugar and sodium should be limited in foods marketed to youths.

  • Food and beverage marketing greatly influences children’s diets—from the foods they prefer to the volume of what they eat.
  • Marketing reaches children in myriad ways —on TV and in print, via packaging and in-store displays, online and through social media and cell phones.
  • African-American and Latino youths are targeted with more advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages.

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Study: kids who watched TV programs w food ads ate 45% more food than those w ads for non-food items