Adolescents represent a key audience for food advertisers, however there is little evidence of adolescent exposure to food marketing in Canada. This study examined trends in Canadian adolescents’ exposure to food advertising on television. To do so, data on 19 food categories were licensed from Nielsen Media Research for May 2011, 2013, and 2016 for the broadcasting market of Toronto, Canada. The average number of advertisements viewed by adolescents aged 12–17 years on 31 television stations during the month of May each year was estimated using television ratings data. Findings revealed that between May 2011 and May 2016, the total number of food advertisements aired on all television stations increased by 4%, while adolescents’ average exposure to food advertising decreased by 31%, going from 221 ads in May 2011 to 154 in May 2016. In May 2016, the advertising of fast food and sugary drinks dominated, relative to other categories, accounting for 42% and 11% of all exposures, respectively. The findings demonstrate a declining trend in exposure to television food advertising among Canadian adolescents, which may be due to shifts in media consumption. These data may serve as a benchmark for monitoring and evaluating future food marketing policies in Canada.
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