In Spring 2014, the NYC Food Policy Center at Hunter College and the CUNY School of Public Health offered an innovative new course that brought together students, community advocates and local nonprofit organizations to learn about food system issues in East Harlem and other low-income communities and collaborate on solutions to the challenges of food insecurity and diet-related disease. These students have embarked on research action projects that will identify and describe a specific food problem facing the residents of East Harlem, analyze the policy and other causes of the problem, and, with appropriate community and research partners, propose and take action to solve this problem.
Project Summary: Food Marketing in East Harlem
Across the United States, nearly half (46%) of all food advertising on Spanish-language children’s television programming were promoting fast food restaurants, while sugared snack made up 21.1% and sugared cereals made up 19.9% of food ads. The volume for sugary drink advertising on Spanish-language TV has increased from 2008 to 2010. Due to the growing population of Hispanics in the United States and thus their increased purchasing power, food and beverage companies are targeting this ethnic group with the advertising of their unhealthy products. The lack of strong regulation of advertisements to children may be another cause of this issue. There is an urgent need to develop strategies to counteract unhealthy advertising messages. Hispanic parents and children may benefit from learning more about the role of food and beverage advertising. Community organizations in East Harlem should focus some of their efforts to reduce the issue of unhealthy food and beverage advertising targeting Hispanic youth. This may include taking part in our Center’s proposed counter-advertising campaign, hosting the existing NYCDOHMH – Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity “We All Want Healthy Children” presentation, or taking organziational action against big food like not having events sponsored with unhealthy product promotion or just being more cautious of the purchasing choices they make for their family.