According to a report done by Rudd Center, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting solutions to childhood obesity, poor diet, and weight bias through research and policy, advertisers have increased their spending on sugary drinks significantly over the last decade and Black and Hispanic youth are the target of these ad dollars. 

Jennifer L. Harris, PhD, MBA, lead study author and senior research advisor at the Rudd Center said in a statement:

“Our findings demonstrate that beverage companies continue to target their advertising to Black and Hispanic communities, which exacerbates ongoing health disparities affecting those communities”

While $573 million of ad spending was focused on non-sugary drinks such as water, diet and unsweetened drinks, the report revealed that spend on sugary drinks is on the rise. 

Total sugary drink advertising expenditures increased 41% in 2018 as compared to 2013.

This ad spend rose across a variety of sugary drink categories over the five year period. Sports drink advertising was up by 24% to $159 million in 2018.

 Advertising for sweetened iced tea went from $38 million in 2013 to $111 million in 2018.

Obesity and other diet-related diseases disproportionately affect communities of color, and by advertising sugary drinks to these communities, beverage makers are promoting negative health outcomes and perpetuating ongoing health disparities for these communities, per the report.

“Companies should not target communities of color with advertising that almost exclusively promotes unhealthy products and undermines efforts to improve the long-term health of young people,” Harris said in the statement.