Food advertising in the age of obesity: Content analysis of food advertising on general market and African American television
To document the types of foods advertised and weight-related nutritional claims made during advertisements appearing on general market and African American television programming.
Content analysis of 553 food advertisements appearing during 101.5 prime-time television hours.
Advertisements were classified according to general category (fast-food restaurant, sit-down restaurant, packaged food), specific food type, and the presence of a weight-related nutritional claim.
The type of foods advertised and nutritional claims made on general market and African American programs were compared using t and chi-squared tests.
More food advertisements appeared during African American programs than general market programs. These advertisements were more likely to be for fast food, candy, soda, or meat and less likely to be for cereals, grains and pasta, fruits and vegetables, dessert, or alcohol. Of all of the food advertisements, 14.9% made a weight-related nutritional claim. More claims related to fat content appeared during African American programming, whereas more light and lean claims appeared in general market advertisements.
Conclusions and Implications
Practitioners and policy makers should be aware of the prevalence of food advertisements and their potential impact on knowledge and behavior and should consider working more closely with food manufacturers to encourage the creation and promotion of weight-friendly foods. Meanwhile, nutrition educators can help by teaching consumers critical thinking skills as may relate to food advertisements.