If your children enjoy Nickelodeon shows like SpongeBob SquarePants, Rugrats, Drake & Josh or iCarly, they’re getting more than an entertainment break.
As I reported in June 2007, 88% of Nick’s advertising (TV, magazine, character-related) promoted junk food, according to a study conducted by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. A new CSPI study reveals a negligible improvement: 80% of Nick’s ads encourage consumption of nutritionally poor foods.
While advertisers have pledged to produce more responsible advertising campaigns, their efforts remain lackluster, and studies show children are heavily influenced by fast-food branding.
“While industry self-regulation is providing some useful benchmarks, it’s clearly not shielding children from junk-food advertising, on Nick and elsewhere,” says Dr. Margo G. Wootan, CSPI’s nutrition policy director. “It’s a modest start, but not sufficient to address children’s poor eating habits and the sky-high rates of childhood obesity.
“Nickelodeon should be ashamed that it earns so much money from carrying commercials that promote obesity, diabetes and other health problems in young children,” she adds. “If media and food companies don’t do a better job exercising corporate responsibility when they market foods to children, Congress and the FTC will need to step in to protect kids’ health.”