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Open AccessArticle

Prevalence of Child-Directed Marketing on Breakfast Cereal Packages before and after Chile’s Food Marketing Law: A Pre- and Post-Quantitative Content Analysis

1
Hussman School of Journalism and Media, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA, [email protected]
2
Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27516, USA
3
Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology, University of Chile, 7830489 Santiago, Chile
4
Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
5
School of Communication, Diego Portales University, 8370109 Santiago, Chile
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224501
Received: 1 October 2019 / Revised: 10 November 2019 / Accepted: 13 November 2019 / Published: 15 November 2019
Food marketing has been identified as a contributing factor in childhood obesity, prompting global health organizations to recommend restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children. Chile has responded to this recommendation with a restriction on child-directed marketing for products that exceed certain regulation-defined thresholds in sugars, saturated fats, sodium, or calories. Child-directed strategies are allowed for products that do not exceed these thresholds. To evaluate changes in marketing due to this restriction, we examined differences in the use of child-directed strategies on breakfast cereal packages that exceeded the defined thresholds vs. those that did not exceed the thresholds before (n = 168) and after (n = 153) the restriction was implemented. Photographs of cereal packages were taken from top supermarket chains in Santiago. Photographed cereals were classified as “high-in” if they exceeded any nutrient threshold described in the regulation. We found that the percentage of all cereal packages using child-directed strategies before implementation (36%) was significantly lower after implementation (21%), p < 0.05. This overall decrease is due to the decrease we found in the percentage of “high-in” cereals using child-directed strategies after implementation (43% before implementation, 15% after implementation), p < 0.05. In contrast, a greater percentage of packages that did not qualify as “high-in” used child-directed strategies after implementation (30%) compared with before implementation (8%), p < 0.05. The results suggest that the Chilean food marketing regulation can be effective at reducing the use of child-directed marketing for unhealthy food products. View Full-Text
Keywords: child-directed marketing; food marketing; food packages; marketing regulation child-directed marketing; food marketing; food packages; marketing regulation
MDPI and ACS Style

Mediano Stoltze, F.; Reyes, M.; Smith, T.L.; Correa, T.; Corvalán, C.; Carpentier, F.R.D. Prevalence of Child-Directed Marketing on Breakfast Cereal Packages before and after Chile’s Food Marketing Law: A Pre- and Post-Quantitative Content Analysis. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4501.

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