Academic Study Finds Companies Target African Americans With Ads for Unhealthy Foods

A new report led by scholars at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, documents that major food companies almost exclusively market unhealthy foods such as fast food, candy, sugary drinks and salty snacks to Black youths.

Jennifer Harris, the lead author of the report and director of marketing initiatives at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center, notes that “food companies have introduced healthier products and established corporate responsibility programs to support health and wellness among their customers, but this study shows that they continue to spend 8 of 10 television advertising dollars on fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks, with even more advertising for these products targeted to Black youth.”

The study found that in 2017 food companies spent almost $11 billion on television advertising. Only $195 million of this spending was on healthy foods. The report states that $1.1 billion of the television food advertising was spent on programs targeting Black or Hispanic audiences. The data showed that 86 percent of the advertisements on programs targeting Blacks were for unhealthy foods.

Furthermore the study found that unhealthy food advertising targeting Black audiences increased by more than 50 percent between 2013 and 2017. Overall television food advertising declined by 4 percent during the period. The analysis found that Black teenagers saw more than twice as many ads for unhealthy foods than White teenagers.

The full report, Increasing Disparities in Unhealthy Food Advertising Targeted to Hispanic and Black Youth, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Two Black Scholars Appointed to Faculty Positions

The new faculty are Esther Jones at Brown University and Dagmawi Woubshet at the University of Pennsylvania.

Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision is Established at Bowie State University

"The new program will help to increase the number of counselor educators within the counseling field and the number of competent Black counselor educators," says Dr. Otis Williams, chair of the Bowie State University department of counseling and psychological studies.

Elizabeth City State University Partners With the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to Increase Representation of Black Graduate...

"We are excited by this partnership with UT Health Science Center and the opportunities this brings to our students who wish to pursue advanced degrees," said Kuldeep Rawat, dean of the Elizabeth City State University School of Science, Health and Technology.

Kimberly White-Smith Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education

“Through her leadership and scholarship, Dr. White-Smith inspires a new generation of teachers to serve students and approach their work with equity, compassion, and respect,” said Gail F. Baker, provost and senior vice president at the University of San Diego. 

Featured Jobs