There is something not-so-comical about our comic channels. A recent study says Nickelodeon, the popular entertainment channel, is spreading junk food among kids through its advertisements. Center for Science in the Public Interest (cspi), a us-based ngo, has examined 168 Nickelodeon television food advertisements, another 21 food ads in Nickelodeon magazine and 15 grocery store products endorsed by characters appearing on Nickelodeon in 2005. It has found that 80 per cent of the samples featured unhealthy products--foods, beverages and restaurant meals. The study says 88 per cent of the tv commercials, 76 per cent of the print advertisements and 60 per cent of the grocery products promote foods of poor nutritional quality.
Nickelodeon reaches over 90 million homes in the us and airs a bunch of programmes hugely popular among kids."The products reach into children's lives, affecting their health," says Margo Wootan of cspi, adding, "They shouldn't advertise unhealthy food products. "It's no longer acceptable given the tremendously negative impact that obesity is having on children," says Joanna Roses, spokesperson, Nickelodeon. "We'll try to promote balanced message about healthy lifestyle."
The channel is popular in India as well. Shifalika Goenka of ic Health, an ngo on cardiovascular health in India, says "It is unethical to target children. They can't discern what is healthy and what is not. We need laws to protect our children."