Eating junk food can lead to poor health, obesity, high blood pressure, and even diabetes. Today, black and Latino youth are seeing more junk food advertisements on television than white youth.

More about TV junk food ads and minority youth

A new report shows that television made for black and Latino youth includes more junk food ads than television made for white youth. In fact, junk food advertisements made up 86% of all spending on advertisements for black-targeted television in 2017. In Spanish-language television, 82% of all spending was on junk food ads. During commercials, there was an obvious push for fast food, sugary drinks, candy, and other unhealthy snacks.

There is a big difference in what white youth see when they watch television versus what minority youth see. For example, black children saw 86% more food ads than white children; and black teens saw 119% more food ads than white teens. For Latino youth, almost 20% of ads they see on television are promoting candy. There was only 3% of spending on ads that went to healthy foods, but black-targeted programming and Spanish-language programming did not benefit from that. This means that Latino youth watching Spanish-language programs basically see no ads for snack options like fruit and nuts.

These advertisements are adding to poor health in minority communities by promoting products that are linked to obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. In fact, obesity is more common in black and Latino youth than it is in white and Asian youth. For example, nearly 26% of Latino youth and 22% of black youth are obese versus only 14% of white youth and 11% of Asian youth. The report even discovered specific food companies that reached black and Latino youth, including Kraft Heinz, General Mills, Hershey, PepsiCo, Mars, Nestle, Yum! Brands, and McDonald’s. There is a call for these companies to take responsibility for advertising that encourages poor diet and related disease and to stop marketing unhealthy products to minority youth.

See our resource page for more information about Latinos and Diabetes

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Photo credit Robin Stickel at Unsplash.