The percentage of obese children is increasing in almost all developed countries. Although the reasons for this “obesity epidemic” are manifold, a substantial number of scientific literature lists the aggressive advertising of low-nutrient, high-fat and sugar containing foods to children as an important contributing factor. A multitude of different advertising channels is employed to reach both, the audience for which the products are targeted (i.e. kids and adolescents) as well as their parents and potential other care-takers. In the present work, the development of food preferences and eating habits of children and the influence of their social environment is reviewed. Furthermore, an overview of the methods and strategies used for advertising food to children and youths is provided. Several products specifically targeted at children were purchased and elements used for advertising the product on the packaging analyzed. The validity of the claims and promises made on the package were assessed by reviewing the list of ingredients as well as the energy density of the respective product. Finally, the effect of advertising on the food preferences of children is discussed together with regulatory and educational measures to limit this influence.