Article

How much food advertising is there on Australian television?

Health Strategies Division, The Cancer Council NSW, Kings Cross NSW 1340, Australia.
Health Promotion International (Impact Factor: 1.94). 10/2006; 21(3):172-80. DOI: 10.1093/heapro/dal021
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive content analysis of television food advertising and provide data on current levels of food advertising in Australia. All three commercial stations available on free-to-air Australian television were concurrently videotaped between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. on two weekdays and both weekend days in four locations across Australia to provide a total of 645 h for analysis. Each advertisement was categorized as 'non-food ad', 'healthy/core food ad' or 'unhealthy/non-core food ad' according to set criteria. Thirty-one percent of the advertisements analyzed were for food. Eighty-one percent of the food advertisements identified were for unhealthy/non-core foods. When comparing the results of this study with previous research, it was found that the number of unhealthy advertisements screened per hour had not changed over the past few years. On weekdays, the number of advertisements increased throughout the day to peak at more than five advertisements per hour in the 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. time slot. The early morning time slot on Saturday was the most concentrated period for advertising unhealthy/non-core food with more than six advertisements screened per hour. The regional areas screened a significantly lower level of unhealthy/non-core food advertisements (19.5%) compared with the metropolitan areas (29.5%). Fast food and takeaway was the most advertised food category, followed by chocolate and confectionery. A total 194 breaches of the Children's Television Standards were identified according to our interpretation of the standard. It is well recognized that childhood obesity is a worldwide problem. The heavy marketing of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods influences food choices and contributes to the incidence of overweight and obesity in children. Despite the recognition of this growing problem, little has been done to ensure children are protected against the use of large volumes of unhealthy/non-core food advertising.

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