Energy and focus are especially crucial for school-age children. The Nickelodeon star SpongeBob SquarePants, shown here on a box of sugary popsicles, has also been a pitchman for spinach, carrots, and fruit. This worries some health experts, in large part because licensed characters appear most often on junk food. Skip to main content.
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Kids who regularly indulge in junk food may be at increased risk for health complications like obesity and depression. Most "junk food" falls into the categories of either "snack food" or "fast food." And then there are things like breakfast cereals. They seem innocent enough, but some of them could definitely be considered "junk food," as they mostly contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup and white flour or milled corn. Some food products, such as these Star Wars-themed Pop-Tarts, use characters that are aimed at older children (or perhaps fanatic adults). But most marketing strategies that use licensed characters are targeted to young kids. Children under age 7 or 8 are the most vulnerable to .