A large number of food advertisements are broadcast during children ' s programs which influence their food consumption habits. Globally, consumption of these foods is linked to increased incidence of obesity and other health-related disorders in children. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to explore the nature and extent of food advertising directed at Indian children.
Data were collected by recording programs and advertisements aired on five popular children ' s networks from 9:00 am until 9:00 pm for ten weekdays and weekends each. On an average, total recording of 242 hours for both weekdays and weekends was done. All data were screened and both program and non-program content (advertisements) were identified and analyzed. Data were further analyzed through descriptive statistics.
Out of 4,219 and 4,750 television advertisements broadcast on children ' s networks during weekdays and weekends, 43.33 and 47.62 percent are food advertisements, respectively. “Confectionery” and “sugared and salty snacks” comprise half of total foods advertised during weekdays. Whereas, advertisements for “health drinks and supplements” are most frequently aired during children ' s programs on weekends. A classification of all food advertisements into healthy and unhealthy categories according to “Food Pyramid” given by National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), India in 2010 shows that almost all the advertised foods are unhealthy.
This study will benefit the parents by helping them understand the media content (food advertisements) offered to their children. They may then control television viewing by children, monitor food purchase behavior and take some mealtime actions to control eating habits of their children. Such awareness is critical to force the food marketers to recognize the need to self-regulate food advertising directed at children. Government may also feel the need to formulate a suitable policy for placing time and content restrictions for advertising foods to children.
As no such study has already been conducted in India (to the best of researcher ' s knowledge), this study potentially helps in abridging gaps in literature.
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