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Soda Ads Target US Teens and Children, says Study

Soda makers are targeting ads at teens and children especially Hispanic and black kids, reveals a new study. The report was published by the Yale University Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. It reveals that many energy and fruits drinks contain as much calories and sugar as full-calorie soft drinks. The report reveals that an 8-ounce serving of an energy drink, soda and fruit drink contains seven spoons of sugar and 110 calories.

Black and Hispanic Youth are Targeted
Teens and kids’ exposure to television soda ads doubled from 2008 to 2010. The major advertisers were Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. and Coca-Cola. However, Pepsico Inc.’s sugary drinks reduced their ads aimed at kids by 22%. Black youth were exposed to 90% more ads compared to white kids. The major culprits include Sprite and 5-Hour Energy. Hispanic kids saw 49% more soda and energy drink ads on Spanish TV shows, while Hispanic teens were exposed to 99% more ads.

Effects of Childhood Obesity
The study authors say soda companies are aggressively marketing low-nutrition, high-sugar drinks at US children. The CDC reveals that about 15% of US kids are obese or overweight. As a result, their lifespan may be shortened and quality of life affected. Obesity is also driving up healthcare expenses.

Energy Drinks Target Teens
Energy drinks like Amp and Red Bull are targeting youngsters. But, doctors say these highly caffeinated drinks are not healthy for teens and kids. Last year, teens were exposed to 18% more TV advertisements and 46% more radio spots hawking energy drinks compared to adults.

Targeting Youth Online
Soda companies are also targeting American youth online. Last year, 21 soda brands had YouTube channels and had garnered greater than 229 million hits by June of this year. Coca-Cola’s Facebook page has attracted greater than 30 million fans. Kraft Foods Inc.’s Capri Sun and MyCokeRewards.com are the most popular soft drink brand websites.

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