To evaluate the self-regulatory Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative pre- and post-implementation in terms of volume of marketing, marketing techniques, and nutritional quality of foods marketed to children on television.


Data for 11 food categories for May 2006 and 2011 were purchased from Nielsen Media Research for two children's specialty channels in Toronto. A content analysis of food advertisements examining the volume and marketing techniques was undertaken. Nutritional information on each advertisement was collected and comparisons were made between 2006 and 2011.


The volume of ads aired by Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) companies on children's specialty channels decreased by 24% between 2006 and 2011; however, children and teens were targeted significantly more, and spokes-characters and licensed characters were used more frequently in 2011 compared to 2006. The overall nutritional quality of CAI advertisements remains unchanged between 2006 and 2011.


There are clear weaknesses in the self-regulatory system in Canada. Food advertising needs to be regulated to protect the health of Canadian children.