Junk Food Marketing Secretly Targets Kids On Social Media and on the Internet


If children are addicted to junk food, it’s because of the food advertising messing with the child’s brain. Many ads are directed especially to children, luring them towards unhealthy food. These facts have been published in a study that you can find in the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Junk Food Ads Versus Healthy Food Ads

The researchers have seen that ads on healthy food on the internet and social media are less in number than the ads for junk food. In their study, researchers at the University of Adelaide, show us that children are exposed to twice the ads for junk food than those for healthy food. Researcher Lisa Smithers said:

“This is the most robust data we’ve seen anywhere. It is the largest dataset ever used by health researchers for examining food advertising in Australia, and probably the world. Most research in this area is based on only a few days of data, and there are no Australian studies taking seasonality into account.”

The study also argues that many parents don’t realize that junk food is addictive to children and can lead to obesity or different chronic illness.

Among the most advertised junk food, there were ads for snacks, crumbed/battered meats, takeaway or fast food and sugary drinks. Not only these ads are targeted at kids, but the frequency and their duration increases in the peak viewing time of children.

Targeting Susceptible ‘Customers’

The Irish Heart Foundation claims that the firms that create junk food use the same tactics as Cambridge Analytica and that the ads have been circulating this way for years.

Chris Macey stated in front of the Oireachtas Children’s Committee the following:

“We know junk food marketing is fueling obesity, obesity is damaging children and the State is failing to protect children’s health. The only remedy, as far as we are concerned, is an outright ban on unhealthy food marketing to under-16s.”

Chris Macey also said that the “world’s best marketing brains in the world’s biggest agencies” are targeting children, because they are “more susceptible to advertising”.


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