McDonald’s App Openly Targets 4-Year-Olds

McDonald's smartphone app says that it's appropriate for ages 4 and up.

As childhood obesity rates hit all-time highs, food brands spend billions on advertising to turn kids into lifetime consumers of fat, sugar, salt, and nutrient-deprived junk food 

Nov 8, 2020

Business Insider – Popular child influencers are generating millions of impressions for fast food and candy brands in YouTube videos targeted at kids, a report in the Pediatrics journal has found.

Videos of children playing with McDonald’s toys and pretending to work at drive-thrus could potentially reach millions of viewers, which “may increase poor dietary behaviors,” researchers from New York University, who worked on the study, said.

Hershey’s, Kinder, and M&M’s were among brands featured on the channels, but McDonald’s topped the list, accounting for more than a quarter of all food or drink references in child YouTuber videos.

The New York University researchers called for stricter regulations to address fast food and beverage brands promoted by young influencers.

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Some of the world’s most popular child influencers are generating millions of impressions for fast food and drink brands, through product placement in their videos, a new study in the Pediatrics journal has found.

Researchers from New York University found dozens of videos targeted at children that explicitly referenced McDonald’s and other fast-food brands.

Food and beverage companies spend $1.8 billion a year on marketing campaigns targeted at children, the researchers found – and these companies have “dramatically increased” their online advertising as younger users increase their social media use, say the researchers.

More than 80% of parents say they allow their children to watch YouTube videos – and this has created an easy way for companies to advertise their products to children, the researchers said.

“Putting ads on these platforms gives food and drink companies a new and ‘fun’ way to push ads to children,” Omni Cassidy, a post-doctoral psychology research fellow who worked on the study, told Business Insider. “And they can do so at a fraction of the cost of placing ads on TV.”

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But across social media, brands don’t always have to pay for adverts to market their products. Sometimes, influencers can unknowingly do this work for free … Click source below to read more. 

Stars’ peddling of junk food to children set to usher in ban on online ads

Report highlights how unhealthy brands have been promoted in lockdown

February 28 2021

The Sunday Times (UK) – Children are being bombarded with 500 online junk food adverts a second during the pandemic, including for unhealthy brands such as Coca-Cola and McDonald’s on the social media accounts of celebrities.

The findings, in a report from a charity backed by the TV chef Jamie Oliver, come before restrictions are imposed on internet advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt, expected as part of an anti-obesity crackdown by No. 10.

The results of a six-week government consultation into whether online junk food adverts should be banned — which would be the toughest digital marketing restrictions in the world — are expected to be published at the same time … Read more (subscription required)

Childhood obesity rates hit an all-time high, survey finds

Erica Carbajal – Monday, January 25th, 2021

Becker’s Healthcare – About 19 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. are obese — a record high, according to the latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

The latest data reflects survey responses from 2017-18. The obesity rate was highest among young people ages 12-19 at 21.2 percent, followed by youth ages 6-11 at 20.3 percent and lowest at 13.4 percent among those ages 2-5.

Overall, boys had higher obesity rates than girls. Further, the rates were highest among Black and Hispanic youth, placing them at increased risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and more severe infections from COVID-19, according to the data.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination survey is conducted every two years and combines interviews with physical examinations. The survey size is about 10,000.

To view the data, click here.

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