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How much food advertising is there on Australian television? Health Promot Int

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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    • "In Australia, people are comfortable with the term ‘junk food’ when describing foods and drinks of limited nutritional value. ‘Junk food’ or EDNP foods have been defined as any food (including beverages) high in fat, sugar and/or salt with little nutritional value or discretionary/non-core foods such as fast foods, sweetened breakfast cereals, confectionery or fizzy drinks [9,10]. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating defines non-core foods as ‘extras’ or ‘discretionary’ and specifies the types of foods based on a 600 kiloJoules equivalent [11]. "
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    BMC Public Health 06/2012; 12:477. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-477 · 2.32 Impact Factor
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    • "For the past several decades childhood obesity rates around the world have been increasing in a seemingly inexorable fashion (de Onis, Blossner, & Borghi, 2010). As energy-dense, nutrition-poor foods are typically advertised heavily in children's television timeslots there has been a natural interest in determining the extent to which the promotion of such foods has contributed towards increases in childhood obesity (Chapman, Nicholas, & Supramaniam, 2006; Kelly, Smith, King, Flood, & Bauman, 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: Evidence suggests that until 8 years of age most children are cognitively incapable of appreciating the commercial purpose of television advertising and are particularly vulnerable to its persuasive techniques. After this age most children begin to describe the 'selling' intent of advertising and it is widely assumed this equips them with sufficient cognitive defences to protect against advertisers' persuasion attempts. However, much of the previous literature has been criticised for failing to differentiate between children's awareness of 'selling' versus 'persuasive' intent, the latter representing a more sophisticated understanding and superior cognitive defence. Unfortunately there is little literature to suggest at what age awareness of 'persuasive intent' emerges; our aim was to address this important issue. Children (n = 594) were recruited from each grade from Pre-primary (4-5 years) to Grade 7 (11-12 years) from ten primary schools in Perth, Western Australia and exposed to a McDonald's television advertisement. Understanding the purpose of television advertising was assessed both nonverbally (picture indication) and verbally (small discussion groups of 3-4), with particular distinction made between selling versus persuasive intent. Consistent with previous literature, a majority of children described the 'selling' intent of television advertising by 7-8 years both nonverbally and verbally, increasing to 90% by 11-12 years. Awareness of 'persuasive' intent emerged slowly as a function of age but even by our oldest age-group was only 40%. Vulnerability to television advertising may persist until children are far older than previously thought. These findings have important implications regarding the debate surrounding regulation of junk food (and other) advertising aimed at children.
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    • "In a year's time, the average child in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and Europe views thousands of television commercials (American Psychological Association, 2004; Chapman et al., 2006; Dibb, 1996; Palmer and Carpenter, 2006; Strasburger and Wilson, 2002) of which 25% or more are for high calorie, low nutrient food (Batada et al., 2008; Byrd-Bredbenner, 2002; Gantz et al., 2007). The frequency with which food advertisements are broadcast means that television viewers are provided with numerous messages about food and (un)healthy eating that affect food choices (McGinnis et al., 2006). "
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