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Study: Junk food ads target black, Hispanic kids

January 24, 2019 08:15 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) -- Food companies are targeting black and Hispanic children with ads for junk food, a new report shows.

More than  $1 billion was spent in 2017 for commercials aired on black-focused and Spanish-language TV shows, according to a study released by the University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. Most of those ads were for fast food snacks and, sugary drinks.

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Experts believe this practice is contributing to health disparities in our community.

In 2018, 46 percent of African Americans and 34 percent of Latinos in the Finger Lakes and Western New York were considered obese, according to data gathered by Common Ground Health in Rochester. Only 30 percent of white people were considered obese. 

In our community, African Americans and Latinos are more likely to have a daily sugary drink and less likely to eat vegetables or a salad. Areas with lower fruit and vegetable consumption have poorer health outcomes and higher rates of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

The Rudd Center study found in 2017, no water, fruit, or nut brands targeted either Latino or black consumers. Companies spent a total of $333 million specifically targeting African American consumers in TV ads

To combat this problem, Common Ground Health says it's working to make healthy food more accessible for everyone.

"We're trying to help support some small retailers that want to sell healthier products in neighborhoods that are affected by chronic disease at disproportionate rates," said Mike Bulger, a program coordinator at Common Ground Health. "We're helping store owners purchase display equipment and we're giving them advice to help them stock healthy produce."

Since people in urban areas are less likely to see ads for health, the organization partners with local school districts to educate children and help get them in the habit of choosing healthy food.

Credits

Kaci Jones

Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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