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To examine children’s exposure to food and beverage advertising across a year of Colombian television based on whether products exceed Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO)-defined nutrient thresholds.
Nutritional information was obtained for all foods and beverages advertised and used to categorise each product according to the product category (e.g. beverage, snack food) and nutritional quality based on the PAHO model for identifying products in excess of free sugars, Na or saturated fat or containing non-caloric sweeteners or trans-fat. Television audience ratings data were used to derive the average child audience (unique child viewers) per ad and the number of times ads were seen by children in a single week (weekly impressions) based on product category and nutritional quality.
All food and beverage ads on cable and over-the-air TV in Colombia in 2017.
Of all instances of TV ads, 89·3 % were of unhealthy products. A larger proportion of male and female children, as well as children from low (88·01 %), mid (89·10 %) and high (89·10 %) socio-economic status, are exposed to advertising of unhealthy products, but no significant difference was found between these proportions.
The majority of foods and beverages advertised to Colombian children are unhealthy. These findings highlight a need to implement statutory measures to reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertising in Colombia, as obesity and overweight have been increasing among school-age children in Colombia, and exposure to television advertising of unhealthy foods is a known contributor to children’s food intake and obesity.
To evaluate the effects of Chile’s 2016 regulation restricting child-directed marketing of products high in energy, saturated fats, sodium and sugars on reducing children’s exposure to ‘high-in’ television food advertising.
Television use by pre-schoolers and adolescents was assessed via surveys in the months prior to implementation and a year after implementation. Hours and channels of television use were linked with the amount of high-in food advertising observed in corresponding content analyses of food advertisements (ads) from popular broadcast and cable channels to estimate changes in exposure to food ads from these channels.
Middle-lower and lower-income neighbourhoods in Santiago, Chile.
Pre-schoolers (n 879; mothers reporting) and adolescents (n 753; self-reporting).
Pre-schoolers’ and adolescents’ exposure to high-in food advertising in total decreased significantly by an average of 44 and 58 %, respectively. Exposure to high-in food advertising with child-directed appeals, such as cartoon characters, decreased by 35 and 52 % for pre-schoolers and adolescents, respectively. Decreases were more pronounced for children who viewed more television. Products high in sugars were the most prevalent among the high-in ads seen by children after implementation.
Following Chile’s 2016 child-directed marketing regulation, children’s exposure to high-in food advertising on popular broadcast and cable television decreased significantly but was not eliminated from their viewing. Later stages of the regulation are expected to eliminate the majority of children’s exposure to high-in food advertising from television.
In the light of Chile’s comprehensive new restriction on unhealthy food marketing, we analyse food advertising on Chilean television prior to the first and final phases of implementation of the restriction.
Content analysis of marketing strategies of 6976 advertisements, based on products’ nutritional quality. Statistical analysis of total and child audience reached using television ratings data.
Advertising from television aired between 06.00 and 00.00 hours during two random composite weeks across April–May 2016 from the four broadcast and four cable channels with the largest youth audiences.
Food ads represented 16 % of all advertising; 34 % of food ads featured a product high in energy, saturated fats, sugars and/or salt (HEFSS), as defined by the initial regulation. HEFSS ads were seen by more children and contained more child-directed marketing strategies than ads without HEFSS foods. If HEFSS advertising was restricted only in programmes where 20 % are children aged 4–12 years, 31 % of children’s and 8 % of the general audience’s HEFSS advertising exposure would be reduced. The newest 06.00–22.00 hours restriction captures 80 % of all audience exposure.
HEFSS advertising was seen by a large proportion of children before Chile’s regulation. Chile’s first implementation based on audience composition should reduce a third of this exposure and its second restriction across the television day should eliminate most of the exposure. The current study is a crucial first step in evaluating how Chile’s regulation efforts will impact children’s diets and obesity prevalence.
Front-of-package (FOP) marketing strategies of a wide variety of beverages were catalogued to examine the prevalence of each strategy prior to a sweeping Chilean restriction of child-directed marketing aimed at reducing obesity-related disease among Chile’s youth.
Photographs of 1005 beverage packages were quantitatively content-analysed to code whether a variety of child-directed, health-oriented and other marketing strategies (e.g. sales promotions) were present on each product’s FOP. Strategies were then analysed based on beverages’ product category, total sugar, energy and tax status (beverages with added sugars are taxed at different rates).
Photographs were taken in six urban supermarkets in Santiago, Chile, representing five different supermarket chains.
Beverages using child-directed characters or nature/fruit references were higher in total sugar and beverages with child-directed characters or childhood/family references were higher in energy than beverages without these respective strategies. Of the beverages taxed at the highest rate (greatest amount of added sugars), 49 % used nutrition and health appeals and 80 % used nature or fruit appeals. Plain waters and plain milks were less likely than other selected product categories to use health-oriented appeals or multiple FOP strategies in combination.
FOP marketing on beverages varied according to the nutritional quality of the product, with heavier use of health-oriented and child-directed strategies in less healthy products. Marketing activities warrant continued observation to evaluate how industry responds to new marketing restrictions as these restrictions are evaluated in the light of existing taxes and other regulatory efforts to improve diets and reduce obesity-related disease.
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