Award Date

5-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Epidemiology and Biostatistics

First Committee Member

Timothy Bungum, Co-Chair

Second Committee Member

Chad Cross, Co-Chair

Third Committee Member

Michelle Chino

Graduate Faculty Representative

Christine Bergman

Number of Pages

75

Abstract

In light of the continuing epidemic of childhood obesity, aggressive food marketing strategies have come under increased scrutiny as a possible contributing factor. It has been acknowledged in numerous studies, that poor nutrient quality of food and beverages dominate children's programming. The growth in child-specific media envoys has further increased favorable opportunities to market food and beverages to children, notably less regulated and parentally unsupervised. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 65% of children aged 6-11 have home access to the Internet; and today, the majority of food manufacturers operate websites appealing to children. The Institute of Medicine issued a warning to all food manufacturers to shift the balance of food and beverages advertised to children from high-calorie, low-nutrient foods to more healthful foods or face federal restrictions on food marketing to children.

This study conducted a content analysis of after-school television aimed at children as well as rated the nutritional quality of the most advertised food and beverages marketed. Internet websites owned by the most advertised food and beverages were identified and examined for their content as well. This data analysis was completed after the implementation of the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative self-regulation; therefore all participating companies were further evaluated for violations of their individual pledges as they were related to the scope of this study. The purpose of this study was to illustrate the stealth advertising utilized via the Internet and provide information for promoting awareness among nutrition and health professionals as well as among policy makers.

Keywords

Children; Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative; Food marketing; Internet

Disciplines

Advertising and Promotion Management | Child Psychology | Human and Clinical Nutrition | Marketing | Nutrition | Public Health

Language

English