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Article

Examining the Relationship between Youth-Targeted Food Marketing Expenditures and the Demographics of Social Media Followers

1
Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA
2
Department of Psychology, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY 12222, USA
3
Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912, USA
4
Department of Nutrition, New York University School of Global Public Health, New York, NY 10012, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051631
Received: 30 December 2019 / Revised: 24 February 2020 / Accepted: 24 February 2020 / Published: 3 March 2020
Background: To determine how many adolescents follow food/beverage brands on Instagram and Twitter, and examine associations between brands’ youth-targeted marketing practices and percentages of adolescent followers. Methods: We purchased data from Demographics Pro to characterize the demographics of Twitter and Instagram users who followed 27 of the most highly advertised fast food, snack, and drink brands in 2019. We used one-sample t-tests to compare percentages of adolescent followers of the selected brands’ accounts versus all social media accounts, independent samples t-tests to compare followers of sugary versus low-calorie drink brands, and linear regression to examine associations between youth-targeted marketing practices and the percentages of adolescent followers. Results: An estimated 6.2 million adolescents followed the selected brands. A higher percentage of adolescents followed the selected brands’ accounts (9.2%) compared to any account on Twitter (1.2%) (p < 0.001), but not Instagram. A higher percentage of adolescents followed sugary (7.9%) versus low-calorie drink brands (4.3%) on Instagram (p = 0.02), but we observed the opposite pattern for adults on Twitter and Instagram. Television advertising expenditures were positively associated with percentages of adolescent followers of the selected brands on Twitter (p = 0.03), but not Instagram. Conclusions: Food and sugary drink brands maintain millions of adolescent followers on social media. View Full-Text
Keywords: social media; food marketing; targeted advertising; adolescents; sugar-sweetened beverages; fast food social media; food marketing; targeted advertising; adolescents; sugar-sweetened beverages; fast food
MDPI and ACS Style

Rummo, P.E.; Cassidy, O.; Wells, I.; Coffino, J.A.; Bragg, M.A. Examining the Relationship between Youth-Targeted Food Marketing Expenditures and the Demographics of Social Media Followers. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 1631. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051631

AMA Style

Rummo PE, Cassidy O, Wells I, Coffino JA, Bragg MA. Examining the Relationship between Youth-Targeted Food Marketing Expenditures and the Demographics of Social Media Followers. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(5):1631. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051631

Chicago/Turabian Style

Rummo, Pasquale E., Omni Cassidy, Ingrid Wells, Jaime A. Coffino, and Marie A. Bragg 2020. "Examining the Relationship between Youth-Targeted Food Marketing Expenditures and the Demographics of Social Media Followers" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 5: 1631. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051631

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