236574 A content analysis of food advertisements appearing in parenting magazines

Monday, October 31, 2011

Jennifer A. Manganello, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Policy, Management, & Behavior, University at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY
Katherine Clegg Smith, PhD , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Katie Sudakow, BA , Department of Health Policy, Management, & Behavior, University at Albany School of Public Health, Rensselaer, NY
Introduction: Childhood obesity is a growing problem, and parents shape a child's diet through foods purchased, attitudes, and transfer of nutritional information. There are many potential contributors to knowledge and attitudes about nutrition, including friends, relatives, and media such as food advertisements. However, while many have studied food ads targeting children, few have analyzed advertising directed at parents. Methods: We used content analysis to examine the advertisements appearing in 4 issues each of six different parenting and family magazines from 2008 (n=24). We identified 479 food ads, which represented approximately 32% percent of all ads. We analyzed each ad for content, including health appeals, nutrition information, messages themes, and representation of people in the ad. We also collected the nutrition information for each product depicted in the ads (n=798). Results: We found that a majority of ads were for products such as snack foods (10%) and packaged meals (8%). In addition to health and nutrition appeals, we found several themes used in ad messages to promote products, including the following: taste, convenience, economical, unique, and fun. Data will be provided concerning the health and nutritional messages provided in the ads and nutritional value of the products advertised. Discussion: Future research should examine the influence of food ads on parents and examine messages from sources of nutritional information other than ads, including the internet and health providers. Interventions should be developed to help parents understand information seen in food ads and to help parents understand nutrition labels.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.) Identify the types of foods advertised to parents and the messages provided about these foods 2.) Discuss potential interventions incorporating media literacy to assist parents with understanding food ads and nutrition labels 3.) List the specific needs for future research on this topic

Keywords: Nutrition, Media

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: One of my main areas of research focuses on media messages and media effects and I have conducted several content analysis studies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.