More specifically, exposure to advertising may be altering childrens food intake. Children and adolescents are inundated with advertisements which promote unhealthy foods and beverages. It is estimated that US food and beverage companies spend roughly $2 billion each year to market their products to kids. The largest proportion of advertising expenditures roughly 40% of all money spent on food and beverage advertising came from fast food restaurants, followed by carbonated beverages (22%).
By comparison, advertising of fruits and vegetables accounts for just 0.4% of all advertising dollars. Just 0.4% for advertisement of healthy food. TV advertising remains the primary channel through which companies reach children and adolescents. Advertising can have a powerful, subconscious affect on food choices for both adults and children. For example, according to research, TV commercials for snack foods increase consumption of these foods before and after airing.
Early research has demonstrated that children exposed to food advertising consumed more total food energy compared to exposure to non-food advertisements. Elementary-school aged children consumed 45% more snack foods after watching a short cartoon which contained a food advertisement compared to children who watched the same cartoon with advertisements for other, non-food, products.