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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1316;

Sensitizing Black Adult and Youth Consumers to Targeted Food Marketing Tactics in Their Environments

Department of Public Health, Arcadia University, 450 S. Easton Rd, Glenside, PA 19038, USA
Department of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, 3215 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
Public Health Leadership Program, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, 4111 McGavran-Greenberg Hall, CB #7469, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
Department of Research and Evaluation, Kaiser Permanente Southern California, 100 S. Los Robles, 2nd Floor, Pasadena, CA 91101, USA
Kogod School of Business, American University, 4400 Massachusetts Ave, NW Washington, DC 20016, USA
Social Science Research Council, One Pierrepont Plaza (300 Cadman Plaza West), 15th floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 29 September 2017 / Accepted: 25 October 2017 / Published: 29 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Environment, Diet, and Health)
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Food marketing environments of Black American consumers are heavily affected by ethnically-targeted marketing of sugar sweetened beverages, fast foods, and other products that may contribute to caloric overconsumption. This qualitative study assessed Black consumers’ responses to targeted marketing. Black adults (2 mixed gender groups; total n = 30) and youth (2 gender specific groups; total n = 35) from two U.S. communities participated before and after a sensitization procedure—a critical practice used to understand social justice concerns. Pre-sensitization focus groups elicited responses to scenarios about various targeted marketing tactics. Participants were then given an informational booklet about targeted marketing to Black Americans, and all returned for the second (post-sensitization) focus group one week later. Conventional qualitative content analysis of transcripts identified several salient themes: seeing the marketer’s perspective (“it’s about demand”; “consumers choose”), respect for community (“marketers are setting us up for failure”; “making wrong assumptions”), and food environments as a social justice issue (“no one is watching the door”; “I didn’t realize”). Effects of sensitization were reflected in participants’ stated reactions to the information in the booklet, and also in the relative occurrence of marketer-oriented themes and social justice-oriented themes, respectively, less and more after sensitization. View Full-Text
Keywords: targeted food marketing; obesity; Black American health; health disparities; consumer perceptions; food policy; food environment targeted food marketing; obesity; Black American health; health disparities; consumer perceptions; food policy; food environment

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Isselmann DiSantis, K.; Kumanyika, S.; Carter-Edwards, L.; Rohm Young, D.; Grier, S.A.; Lassiter, V. Sensitizing Black Adult and Youth Consumers to Targeted Food Marketing Tactics in Their Environments. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1316.

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