Restricting Advertisements for High-Fat, High-Sugar Foods during Children's Television Programs: Attitudes in a US Population-Based Sample

By Tripicchio, Gina; Heo, Moonseong et al. | Childhood Obesity, April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Restricting Advertisements for High-Fat, High-Sugar Foods during Children's Television Programs: Attitudes in a US Population-Based Sample


Tripicchio, Gina, Heo, Moonseong, Diewald, Lisa, Noar, Seth M., Dooley, Rachel, Pietrobelli, Angelo, Burger, Kyle S., Faith, Myles S., Childhood Obesity


[Author Affiliation]

Gina Tripicchio. 1 Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Moonseong Heo. 2 Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY.

Lisa Diewald. 3 Center for Obesity Prevention and Education, Villanova University College of Nursing, Villanova, PA.

Seth M. Noar. 4 School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Rachel Dooley. 4 School of Media and Journalism, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Angelo Pietrobelli. 5 Pediatric Unit, Verona University Medical School, Verona, Italy; Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Baton Rouge, LA.

Kyle S. Burger. 1 Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.

Myles S. Faith. 6 Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.

Address correspondence to: Myles S. Faith, PhD, Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo, 420 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260, E-mail: mfaith@buffalo.edu

Introduction

Obesity is linked to numerous comorbidities, poorer quality of life, diminished worker productivity, and increased mortality.1 These health and economic costs begin in childhood, making pediatric obesity prevention a global priority. Almost one in three children in the United States (US) is overweight or obese, with adiposity and comorbidities tracking into adulthood.2 For these reasons there is mounting interest in policy and macro-environmental changes for obesity prevention. Potential strategies include food price manipulations, removing vending machines from schools, and posting calorie information in restaurants.3 One strategy receiving heightened attention, and the focus of this report, is the regulation of high-fat, high-sugar (HFHS) product commercials during children's television (TV) programs.

The average child in the United States views 15 TV food advertisements each day, the majority of which are for foods high in fat, sugar, and/or sodium.4 Exposure to food marketing prompts children to prefer, request, and consume targeted foods,5 and this may contribute to obesity.6 In 2012, the fast food industry spent 4.6 billion dollars on advertising to children, outspending the 367 million dollars spent by advertisers of fruit, vegetables, bottled water, and milk combined.7 TV was the most common advertising medium, accounting for 88% of all advertising to children in 2012. Developmentally, children four to five years and younger are not able to distinguish commercial content from TV programming, and children seven to eight years and younger are not able to recognize the persuasive nature of advertisements.8 For these reasons, restricting food advertisements during children's TV programs has received great scrutiny.

The aim of the current study was to determine the extent to which the US population is supportive of greater regulation of advertisements for HFHS foods during children's TV programs. Knowing the public will regarding such a policy could help to forecast its acceptability and potential traction, and may be a critical contextual factor in implementing American Heart Association nutrition guidelines.9 We examined these questions for the year 2012, in a secondary data analysis of a national dataset. A secondary aim was to identify subgroups that were more favorably predisposed than others to this policy.

Methods

Participants

The Annenberg National Health Communication Survey (ANHCS), a nationally representative cross-sectional survey of adults 18 years and older residing in the United States, was analyzed. …

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