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Kids flooded by fast food ads: Study

Do kids deserve a break today?

A study of fast-food marketing to children would suggest they should get a rest from the relentless advertising. It found that in the over-saturated American media environment, children and teens find ads from fast-food restaurants just about everywhere they spend time, including on radio and television, cellphones, Web sites, Twitter and Facebook.

The report, which was prepared by researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rudd Foundation, also noted that minority children are often exposed to more TV ads.

Among the report’s statistics, all dating from 2009:

•The 20 largest fast-food restaurant chains spent $3.8 billion on advertising, the bulk of it on TV ads.

•On average, children and teens saw more than 1,000 ads for fast-food restaurants on TV.

•Compared with their white peers, black children were exposed to 56 percent more fast-food ads on TV; black teens, 46 percent more. Much of that difference was attributed by the researchers to more TV viewing by African Americans.

•The fast foods that African American children see in ads each day total nearly 2,000 calories; for black teens, the total is more than 3,000 calories.

•Hispanic children and teens got about one fast-food ad every day on Spanish-language TV.