Breakfast cereal industry pledges to self-regulate advertising to youth: will they improve the marketing landscape?

J Public Health Policy. 2010 Apr;31(1):59-73. doi: 10.1057/jphp.2009.50.


In 2007, the Council of Better Business Bureaus created the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative to improve the nutritional profile of products marketed to children in the United States. We provide quantitative baseline data describing (a) the amount of child-directed breakfast cereal advertising in 2007; (b) an assessment of the nutritional value for all cereals advertised on television; and (c) the relationship between nutrition quality and child exposure to television advertising for major cereal brands. In 2007, the average American child viewed 757 cereal ads, and 98 per cent of these ads promoted unhealthy cereals that would be prohibited from advertising to children in the United Kingdom. Healthy cereals were advertised in 2007 in the United States, but adults, not children, were predominantly exposed to these ads. These quantitative methods can be used in the future to evaluate the impact of industry self-regulation efforts to improve the marketing landscape.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Food / standards
  • Food Industry*
  • Humans
  • Marketing*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritive Value
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Television
  • United Kingdom
  • Young Adult