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ISSN: 1734-1922
Archives of Medical Science
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vol. 12
Public health

Analysis of food advertising to children on Spanish television: probing exposure to television marketing

Daniel Campos
Juan José Hernández-Torres
Ahmad Agil
Mariano Comino
Juan Carlos López
Victoria Macías
Cristina Campoy

Arch Med Sci 2016; 12, 4: 799–807
Online publish date: 2016/07/01
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Introduction We aimed to assess longitudinal changes in television (TV) food advertising during 2013 compared to 2007, measuring children’s exposure to healthy and unhealthy advertisements, after the new European and Spanish Public Health laws published in 2011.

Material and methods: Two thematic channels for children (TC), and 2 generalist channels (GC) for all ages were recorded, between April and May 2013, on 2 week and 2 weekend days. Food advertisements were classified as core (CFA) (nutrient dense, low energy), non-core (NCFA) (unbalanced energy profile or high in energy), or others (OFA) (supermarkets and special food).

Results: One thousand two hundred sixty-three food advertisements were recorded (TC: 579/GC: 684) in 2013. NCFA were the most shown (54.9%) in the regular full day TV programming (p < 0.001). In 2013, children watching GC had a higher relative risk of being exposed to fast food advertisements than when watching TC (RR = 2.133, 95% CI: 1.398–3.255); CFA were broadcast most frequently in 2013 (GC: 23.7%; and TC: 47.2%) vs. 2007 (TC: 22.9%) (p < 0.001). The proportion of broadcasting between NCFA/CFA and OFA food advertisements in children’s peak time slots was higher on TC (203/162) during 2013 than on GC (189/140), and significantly higher than that shown on TC in 2007 (180/36, p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Broadcasting of unhealthy TV food advertising on TC is lower today than six years ago; but, children’s exposure to TV advertising of unhealthy food is worrying in Spain, and there is more exposure to unhealthy than healthy food by TV. Watching GC in 2013 had higher risk of being exposed to fast food advertisements than watching TC.

childhood obesity, food publicity, policy food, television marketing

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