Food and Beverage Marketing on Television During Children's Preferred Viewing: The Influence of Regulatory and Self-regulatory Policies

Title: Food and Beverage Marketing on Television During Children's Preferred Viewing: The Influence of Regulatory and Self-regulatory Policies
Authors: Potvin Kent, Monique
Date: 2011
Abstract: Objective: Childhood obesity is associated with children’s exposure to food/beverage marketing, and policy options to limit this marketing are being sought. To examine the influence of advertising self regulation by industry in Ontario and the child-directed advertising ban in Quebec, we assessed the differences in exposure to food marketing on television between three groups of children: English children in Ontario, and French and English children in Quebec. Next we examined the differences in the nutritional quality of foods advertised to these groups of children during their preferred television viewing. Lastly, to examine the efficacy of self-regulation of food marketing to children, we compared the differences in food/beverage marketing between two groups of corporations: 17 corporations participating in the Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) and 35 corporations not participating in this initiative (non-CAI) during English children’s preferred viewing on television. Method: A 90 hour content analysis consisting of the preferred viewing of English Ontario, French Quebec, and English Quebec children was undertaken. The frequency of food/beverage promotions and related marketing techniques was determined in the first study and the nutritional quality of these foods/beverages was established and compared in the second study. To determine children’s preferred viewing, a total of 428 children ages 10-12 completed television viewing diaries for 7 days while 32 television stations were recorded simultaneously between 6 am and 12 am. In the final study, the food/beverage marketing activities of CAI and non-CAI corporations during 99.5 hours of English children’s preferred viewing were compared. The preferred television viewing was based on the television viewing journals of 272 English speaking children. Each food/beverage promotion was classified by corporation type (i.e. CAI or non-CAI) and compared. Results: In the first study, similar rates of food marketing were seen across all three population groups. French Quebec subjects were exposed to significantly more beverage and fewer grain, candy and snack food promotions. French Quebec children were targeted less frequently, and media characters were used less often than in the English groups. In the second study, food advertisements in the Quebec French sample were significantly higher in total and saturated fat, significantly lower in carbohydrates and sugar per 100 grams, and higher in protein as a percentage of energy than the two English samples. Similar proportions of advertisements were classified as “less healthy” across all three groups. In the final study, the CAI group was responsible for significantly more food/beverage promotions, more candy/snack and restaurant promotions and used media characters more frequently than the non-CAI group. Nutritionally, a significantly greater proportion of the CAI food/beverage promotions were considered “less healthy” compared to the non-CAI promotions. Conclusion: The Quebec advertising ban does not appear to be limiting the amount of food/beverage advertising seen by children aged 10-12, nor is it having a significant influence on the healthfulness of foods/ beverages in these advertisements. Clearly, the Quebec policy needs to be broadened and strengthened. With regards to the self-regulatory system in Canada, our results indicate that the commitments that have been made in the CAI are not having a significant impact on the food and beverage marketing environment on television which is preferred by 10-12 year olds. The Government of Canada may want to consider alternatives to industry self-regulation in marketing in order to protect the health of our children.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -