Children targeted by soda ads

Soda companies target children. / Jessica Fairley

New research reveals minorities and children are seeing more advertisements from soda companies than ever before.

The information comes from a report released by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.

From 2008 to 2010 the exposure of soda ads to children and teens doubled. It was fueled by increases from Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc.

The study says black children are seeing 80 to 90 percent more ads than whites and twice as many for energy drinks and vitamin water.

"Habits that we start as a child, whether that's from influence from media or what's brought into our home, can affect us for the rest of our lives," said Phoebe Diabetes Treatment Center Registered Dietician Julie Joiner.

Joiner says not only can drinks become addictive; they can also contribute to health problems.

"Lots of things are related to a person being overweight or obese and drinking too many sodas is one of those things that contribute to obesity," said Julie Joiner:

Which she says can contribute to other diseases like high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

People may not notice but a 20 ounce bottle of soda can hold up to 17 teaspoons of sugar but officials say parents can never go wrong by eliminating those calories and giving their children water.

Tangela Clements says it's the first choice for her children. She says even drinks that advertise low sugar content can be a problem.

"We do think that we're giving our children a healthier alternative to sodas when we give them fruit drinks but in essence they really all have sugar in them," said Albany parent Tangela Clements.

She says the amount of advertisements that her children encounter doesn't make a difference because it's her authority that guides their behaviors.

"I just choose to take control for the choices that I make for myself and my family," said Tangela Clements.

It's something she hopes all parents would do.

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