From 2008 to 2010, children's and teens' exposure to television ads for soda doubled, according to a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University. And beverage companies targeted black and Hispanic kids more than others in recent ads, the report found.
Commercials for Coke and Dr. Pepper products led the increase. Pepsi actually showed young audiences 22 percent fewer commercials for its products in that same time period.
Under a voluntary agreement, beverage companies have pledged to improve advertising directed to kids. But "our results clearly show that the beverage industry's self-regulatory pledges are not working," says Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center.
The American Beverage Association takes issue with the report's conclusions. "This report is another attack by known critics in an ongoing attempt to single out one product as the cause of obesity when both common sense and widely accepted science have shown that the reality is far more complicated," writes president and chief executive officer Susan Neely in a statement.
Shades of Joe Camel?