Food Adverts on Children's Programs on TV in South Africa
Temple, Norman J.
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Research in the U.S.A. since the early 1990s has shown that adverts that appear on children’s programs on TV are the antithesis of the recommended diet. They are mainly for fast foods and for foods rich in sugar and fat. There is almost no promotion of healthy food choices. Essentially all such previous research has been conducted in developed countries. In this study we examined food advertising on children’s TV in South Africa. We recorded 2 sets of children’s programs during weekdays: (1) 12 hours of programs (SABC2; 9 am-11 am); these are for children below school age, are mainly in English and Africaan, plus a small amount in Xhosa. Out of 47 ads none were for food. (2) 37.5 hours of programs were recorded on YoTV (SABC1; 3 pm-530 pm). This program is for children aged over approximately 7 years. It is mainly in English plus a small amount in Zulu. Out of 408 ads 69 (16.9%) were for food. Virtually all (97%) of the food ads fall into 2 groups: (1) 38 ads (55%) were for foods of generally poor nutritional value (fast food restaurants, highly refined breakfast cereals, candies, potato chips, and sugar-rich cold drinks); (2) 29 ads (42%) were for foods of generally good nutritional value (yoghurt and peanut butter). These findings suggest that food ads on children’s TV in South Africa is more evenly balance towards healthier foods than is the case in the U.S.A. Further investigation is required to form a clearer picture.