Special Issue "Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children"

A special issue of Nutrients (ISSN 2072-6643). This special issue belongs to the section "Nutrition and Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Emma Boyland
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3BX, UK
Interests: food and beverage marketing; digital media; commercial determinants of health; public health; policy; obesity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages is increasingly recognised as a key part of the ‘obesogenic’ food environment that is driving rising rates of childhood overweight and obesity across the world. This view is underpinned by an expanding body of evidence showing effects of food marketing exposure on both the antecedents of eating behavior (awareness, attitudes, preferences) and actual intake in young people, as well as modelled impacts on more distal health outcomes (e.g., body weight and disease incidence).

Changing media practices and the rapid advancement of digital technologies have meant that children’s experience of food marketing has shifted dramatically in recent years. The personalisation and targeting of digital marketing offers unique challenges to public health researchers seeking to understand its impact, just as it offers unparalleled opportunities for marketers to engage audiences with their persuasive messages.

Many topics remain underexplored: What impact does digital marketing have on young people’s dietary behaviors? Which persuasive marketing techniques affect dietary behaviors most? What role does marketing play in the normalization of dietary attitudes and behaviors?

This Special Issue of Nutrients, entitled “Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors Among Children”, encourages the submission of original quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods manuscripts based on this topic describing research conducted with young people, particularly underrepresented groups (e.g., adolescents). Scientific reviews of the literature and manuscripts exploring novel assessments of marketing impact on dietary behavior are also welcome.

Dr. Emma Boyland
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Nutrients is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Food and beverage marketing
  • Dietary behaviour
  • Digital media
  • Children
  • Adolescents
  • Obesity
  • Policy

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Fiction is Sweet. The Impact of Media Consumption on the Development of Children’s Nutritional Knowledge and the Moderating Role of Parental Food-Related Mediation. A Longitudinal Study
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1478; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051478 - 19 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1718
Abstract
Nutritional knowledge is an important cognitive facilitator that potentially helps children to follow a healthy diet. Two main information agents influence children’s development of nutritional knowledge: the media and their parents. While a high amount of media consumption potentially decreases children’s nutritional knowledge, [...] Read more.
Nutritional knowledge is an important cognitive facilitator that potentially helps children to follow a healthy diet. Two main information agents influence children’s development of nutritional knowledge: the media and their parents. While a high amount of media consumption potentially decreases children’s nutritional knowledge, parents may shape the amount of information children can gather about nutrition through their food-related mediation styles. In addition, children’s individual preconditions predict how children can process the provided nutritional information. This two-wave panel study with children (N = 719; 5–11 years) and their parents (N = 719) investigated the main effects and interplay of children’s amount of media consumption and their parents’ food-related mediation styles by performing linear regression analysis. Children’s individual preconditions were also considered. We measured children’s self-reported amount of media consumption, children’s age, sex, weight, and height (BMI). Additionally, in a parent survey we asked parents about how they communicate their rules about eating while especially focusing on active and restrictive food rule communication styles. As a dependent measure, we examined children’s nutritional knowledge at Time 1 and 2. The results show that the amount of media consumption has a negative effect on children’s nutritional knowledge over time. Parents’ restrictive or active food-related mediation asserted no main effects and could not lever out the negative effect of the amount of media consumption. Therefore, we argue that parents should limit children’s amount of media consumption to avoid the manifestation of misperceptions about nutrition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Food Advertising to Children in New Zealand: A Critical Review of the Performance of a Self-Regulatory Complaints System Using a Public Health Law Framework
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1278; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051278 - 30 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2460
Abstract
New Zealand has the second highest overweight and obese child population in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This paper evaluates whether New Zealand’s self-regulatory controls on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children and young people adequately protects [...] Read more.
New Zealand has the second highest overweight and obese child population in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This paper evaluates whether New Zealand’s self-regulatory controls on the advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children and young people adequately protects children from the exposure to, and power of, such marketing in order to limit its impact on children’s food and beverage preferences. First, an analysis of the relevant New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Codes was conducted, including the ASA Complaints Board and Appeals Board decisions from 2017–2019 to determine the application of the Codes in practice. Second, a public health law framework was applied to the self-regulatory system. Of the 16 complaints assessed, 12 were not upheld, and only one was upheld under the Children and Young People’s Advertising Code (CYPA Code). Three complaints were upheld under the Advertising Standards Code (ASC) but not the CYPA Code. An analysis of the Codes and their interpretation by the Complaints Board found that many facets of the public health law framework were not met. The self-regulatory system does not adequately protect children from the exposure to, and power of, unhealthy food and beverage marketing, and government-led, comprehensive, and enforceable marketing restrictions are required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Article
The Frequency and Healthfulness of Food and Beverage Advertising in Movie Theatres: A Pilot Study Conducted in the United States and Canada
Nutrients 2020, 12(5), 1253; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051253 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1403
Abstract
The marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages contributes to childhood obesity. In Canada and the United States, these promotions are self-regulated by industry. However, these regulations do not apply to movie theatres, which are frequently visited by children. This pilot study examined the [...] Read more.
The marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages contributes to childhood obesity. In Canada and the United States, these promotions are self-regulated by industry. However, these regulations do not apply to movie theatres, which are frequently visited by children. This pilot study examined the frequency and healthfulness of food advertising in movie theatres in the United States and Canada. A convenience sample of seven movie theatres in both Virginia (US) and Ontario (Canada) were visited once per month for a four-month period. Each month, ads in the movie theatre environment and before the screening of children’s movies were assessed. Food ads were categorized as permissible or not permissible for marketing to children using the World Health Organization’s European Nutrient Profile Model. There were 1999 food ads in the movie theatre environment in Ontario and 43 food ads identified in the movie theatre environment in Virginia. On average, 8.6 (SD = 3.3) and 2.2 (SD = 0.9) food ads were displayed before children’s movies in Ontario and Virginia, respectively. Most or all (97–100%) food ads identified in Virginia and Ontario were considered not permissible for marketing to children. The results suggest that movie theatre environments should be considered for inclusion in statutory food marketing restrictions in order to protect children’s health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Article
Bus Stops Near Schools Advertising Junk Food and Sugary Drinks
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041192 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2506
Abstract
Children rarely understand the full extent of the persuasive purpose of advertising on their eating behaviours. Addressing the obesogenic environments in which children live, through a quantification of outdoor advertising, is essential in informing policy changes and enforcing stricter regulations. This research explores [...] Read more.
Children rarely understand the full extent of the persuasive purpose of advertising on their eating behaviours. Addressing the obesogenic environments in which children live, through a quantification of outdoor advertising, is essential in informing policy changes and enforcing stricter regulations. This research explores the proportion of bus stop advertisements promoting non-core food and beverages within walking distance (500 m) from schools in Auckland, New Zealand while using Google Street View. Information was collected on: school type, decile, address, Walk Score®, and Transit Score for all 573 schools in the Auckland region. Ground-truthing was conducted on 10% of schools and showed an alignment of 87.8%. The majority of advertisements on bus shelters were for non-food items or services (n = 541, 64.3%). Of the advertisements that were for food and/or beverages, the majority were for non-core foods (n = 108, 50.2%). There was no statistically significant difference between the variables core and non-core food and beverages and School decile (tertiles), Walk Score (quintiles), and Transit Score (quintiles). 12.8% of all bus stop advertisements in this study promoted non-core dietary options; highlighting an opportunity for implementing stricter regulations and policies preventing advertising unhealthy food and drink to children in New Zealand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Sugar Content and Nutritional Quality of Child Orientated Ready to Eat Cereals and Yoghurts in the UK and Latin America; Does Food Policy Matter?
Nutrients 2020, 12(3), 856; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12030856 - 23 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2253
Abstract
Ready to eat breakfast cereals (REBCs) and yoghurts provide important nutrients to children’s diets, but concerns about their high sugar content exist. Food reformulation could contribute to sugar reduction, but policies across countries are not uniform. We aimed to compare the sugar content [...] Read more.
Ready to eat breakfast cereals (REBCs) and yoghurts provide important nutrients to children’s diets, but concerns about their high sugar content exist. Food reformulation could contribute to sugar reduction, but policies across countries are not uniform. We aimed to compare the sugar content and nutritional quality of child-orientated REBCs and yoghurts in Latin American countries with the UK. In a cross-sectional study, nutritional information, marketing strategies, and claims were collected from the food labels and packaging of products available in Guatemala, Mexico, Ecuador and the UK. Nutritional quality was assessed using the UK Ofcom Nutrient Profiling System. In total, 262 products were analysed (59% REBCs/41% yoghurts). REBCs in the UK had a lower sugar content (mean ± SD) (24.6 ± 6.4) than products in Ecuador (34.6 ± 10.8; p < 0.001), Mexico (32.6 ± 7.6; p = 0.001) and Guatemala (31.5 ± 8.3; p = 0.001). Across countries, there were no differences in the sugar content of yoghurts. A large proportion (83%) of REBCs and 33% of yoghurts were classified as “less healthy”. In conclusion, the sugar content of REBCs in Latin America is higher than those of the UK, which could be attributed to the UK voluntary sugar reduction programme. Sugar reformulation policies are required in Guatemala, Mexico and Ecuador. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
That’s My Cue to Eat: A Systematic Review of the Persuasiveness of Front-of-Pack Cues on Food Packages for Children vs. Adults
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 1062; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12041062 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2574
Abstract
Packaging is increasingly recognized as an essential component of any marketing strategy. Visual and informational front-of-pack cues constitute salient elements of the environment that may influence what and how much someone eats. Considering their overwhelming presence on packaging of non-core foods, front-of-pack cues [...] Read more.
Packaging is increasingly recognized as an essential component of any marketing strategy. Visual and informational front-of-pack cues constitute salient elements of the environment that may influence what and how much someone eats. Considering their overwhelming presence on packaging of non-core foods, front-of-pack cues may contribute to the growing rates of overweight and obesity in children and adults. We conducted a systematic review to summarize the evidence concerning the impact of front-of-pack cues on choices and eating behaviors. Four electronic databases were searched for experimental studies (2009–present). This resulted in the inclusion of 57 studies (in 43 articles). We identified studies on children (3–12 years) and adults (≥ 18 years), but no studies on adolescents (12–18 years). The results suggest that children and adults are susceptible to packaging cues, with most evidence supporting the impact of visual cues. More specifically, children more often choose products with a licensed endorser and eat more from packages portraying the product with an exaggerated portion size. Adults’ eating behaviors are influenced by a range of other visual cues, mainly, package size and shape, and less so by informational cues such as labels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Effects of Foods Embedded in Entertainment Media on Children’s Food Choices and Food Intake: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 964; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040964 - 31 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2044
Abstract
While watching or playing with media, children are often confronted with food appearances. These food portrayals might be a potential factor that affects a child’s dietary behaviors. We aimed to comprehensively expound the effects of these types of food appearances on dietary outcomes [...] Read more.
While watching or playing with media, children are often confronted with food appearances. These food portrayals might be a potential factor that affects a child’s dietary behaviors. We aimed to comprehensively expound the effects of these types of food appearances on dietary outcomes of children. Our objectives were to synthetize the evidence of the experiments that study the effects of foods embedded in children’s entertainment media throughout a systematic review, to conduct two meta-analyses (food choice and intake) in order to quantify the effects, and to examine to what extent the effects of foods embedded in entertainment media varies across different moderating variables. We conducted a systematic search of five databases for studies published up to July 2018 regarding terms related to children and foods embedded in entertainment media. We identified 26 eligible articles, of which 13 (20 effect sizes) and 7 (13 effect sizes) were considered for a meta-analysis on food choice and intake, respectively. Most of the studies were assessed as having a middle risk of bias. Overall, food being embedded in entertainment media is a strategy that affects the eating behaviors of children. As most of the embedded foods in the included studies had low nutritional values, urgent measures are needed to address the problem of childhood obesity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
The Power of Packaging: A Scoping Review and Assessment of Child-Targeted Food Packaging
Nutrients 2020, 12(4), 958; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12040958 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 9039
Abstract
Child-targeted food marketing is a significant public health concern, prompting calls for its regulation. Product packaging is a powerful form of food marketing aimed at children, yet no published studies examine the range of literature on the topic or the “power” of its [...] Read more.
Child-targeted food marketing is a significant public health concern, prompting calls for its regulation. Product packaging is a powerful form of food marketing aimed at children, yet no published studies examine the range of literature on the topic or the “power” of its marketing techniques. This study attempts such a task. Providing a systematic scoping review of the literature on child-targeted food packaging, we assesses the nutritional profile of these foods, the types of foods examined, and the creative strategies used to attract children. Fifty-seven full text articles were reviewed. Results identify high level trends in methodological approaches (content analysis, 38%), outcomes measured (exposure, 44%) and with respect to age. Studies examining the nutritional profile of child-targeted packaged foods use various models, classifying from anywhere from 41% to 97% of products as unhealthy. Content analyses track the prevalence of child-targeted techniques (cartoon characters as the most frequently measured), while other studies assess their effectiveness. Overall, this scoping review offers important insights into the differences between techniques tracked and those measured for effectiveness in existing literature, and identifies gaps for future research around the question of persuasive power—particularly when it comes to children’s age and the specific types of techniques examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Marketing and Dietary Behaviors among Children)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop