Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Ilene Kaplan




children, food, advertisements, obesity, disease


The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the impact of television food advertisements on children’s weight and the possible connection of the media to the childhood obesity epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control, the number of obese children in America has more than tripled in recent decades. Obesity among children is linked to a variety of diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and sleep apnea in addition to many psychological issues like depression. One of the major contributors to the obesity epidemic among Americans and especially among children is the media. The food industry spends over $10 million dollars annually on advertising, with the majority directed at children. This research focused on the influence of television commercials during Saturday morning prime-time cartoons. Results showed that of the 82 advertisements viewed, 33 were food related. The content analysis explores the different ways that the advertisements made the products desirable to children and the social messages that are being sent to America’s youth in relation to food and socialization.