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Abstract

In response to the growing childhood obesity rate, the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) was launched in November 2006. Our study presents the first empirical analysis of the impact of CFBAI on consumers' food choices. We combine monthly data on advertising exposure, measured by gross rating points and by age group between 2006 and 2008, and household candy purchases. We find that CFBAI has not produced significant changes in consumers' exposure to television advertising because its guidelines are vague. Nor has it had the intended effect on consumers' dietary choices. However, an observed reduction in advertising exposure could reduce households' purchase propensity by approximately 30-40% for specific candy products. This suggests that strengthening the link between reducing advertising on child-directed programs and reducing children's actual advertising exposure should be a priority in ensuring the future success of CFBAI.

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