Anew study published Thursday suggests that fast-food chains, soda makers and snack vendors are increasingly creating junk food ads targeted towards Black teens and children, reports The Washington Post.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity released the findings via the journal Pediatric Obesity. The study focuses on the idea that African-American youth see more junk food ads than White children––as much as 50 percent more among teens.

The research team found that “all children saw more TV and beverage ads in 2012 than in 2008, even though the amount of time kids spend watching TV has basically stayed the same.”

The study also suggests that the gap in marketing to Black children more than White kids has a “great deal” to do with the networks or channels that African-American youth watch on a regular basis, writes the news outlet:

Compared to their white peers, black children spend far more time watching “youth-targeted” and “black-targeted” networks, such as Fuse, Nick-at-Nite, BET and VH1. These are also the networks, researchers found, that air the most food advertisements.

Frances Fleming-Milici, a marketing researcher at the Rudd Center and the lead author on the new report, does not believe that is a coincidence.

“Determining the intentions of [food] companies is challenging,” she said. “But we use the same data that companies use to place their ads. Ads are placed to reach a certain demographic.”

With studies such as this one jump starting more discussions about kids and healthy eating, opinions differ on a solution to the problem of disproportionately marketing to African-Americans over other races.

Turning off the television may become a viable option for stopping kids from seeing junk food ads, reported the Los Angeles Times.

SOURCE: The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times

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