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Nickelodeon Won’t Quit Junk Food Advertising

Senators have called on the children's programming giant to quit advertising junk food to children. Nickelodeon has not relented.

A television remote

Photo: Jason Trim (flickr)

According to the University of Washington's Teen Health and the Media project, children see an estimated 10,000 food-related television ads per year, with only 2 percent being for a fruit or vegetable.

Last year, Disney said it would stop peddling junk food to children, making it the first company of its kind to do so.

This year, children’s programming rival Nickelodeon has said it will not do the same.

Senators Say No To Sugar

Senators Jay Rockefeller, Dick Durbin, Richard Blumenthal and Tom Harkin sent a letter in June asking Nickelodeon to cease junk food advertising to children.

The senators argued that, as a major force in children’s entertainment, Nickelodeon could impact children’s obesity by pulling nutritionally-deficient ads off their network, website and mobile platforms.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has also been pressuring Nickelodeon since Disney made its announcement, even going so far as to take out a full-page ad in The Hollywood Reporter criticizing the network for not relenting on junk food.

Nickelodeon Fires Back

While Nickelodeon hasn’t backed down, the Viacom-owned network has pointed out their own healthy initiatives.

Nickelodeon says its junk food advertising has gone down 45 percent since 2008, and the company dedicates 10 percent of its promotional airtime to health and wellness.

It also suspends programming once a year for the Worldwide Day of Play.

Nickelodeon argues that the onus for healthier foods isn’t on the network, but on the food producers themselves.

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Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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