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Unhealthy food ads targeted at minorities carry serious consequences

  • Black youth and adults see between 9% to 21% more food and beverage advertising than their white peers.
  • Neither Spanish-language nor Black-targeted television had advertisements for fruits and vegetables, the Rudd Center report said.
  • While marketing to communities of color acknowledges the value of those customers, researchers say, promoting mostly unhealthy foods to Black and Hispanic people is an additional barrier to health equity amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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Black and Hispanic consumers are targeted with a disproportionate amount of TV advertisements for sugary drinks, snacks and other high-caloric but low-nutrient items, making them prone to more diet-related diseases such as diabetes, researchers found.

In 2021, candy, as well as sugary drinks, savory snacks, gums, mints and cereals made up 75% of Spanish-language and Black-targeted TV advertisement spending, according to a study from the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health. In 2017, that figure was about 50%. 

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