251591 African American adults' and adolescents' perceptions of food and beverage marketing: The balance between personal choice, individual responsibility, and responsibility to African American communities

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 12:50 PM

Lori Carter-Edwards, PhD , Dept. of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
Janelle Armstrong-Brown, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Education, UNC School of Public Health, Chapel HIll, NC
Lesley Williams , UNC, UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, Chapel Hill, NC
Deborah Rohm Young, PhD , School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Ashley Johnson , John Avery Boys and Girls Club, Durham, NC
BACKGROUND: Targeted marketing of high fat, high calorie foods and sugar sweetened beverages is more common in African American communities and may contribute to obesity. However, African Americans' knowledge and opinions of the use or impact of marketing strategies in their communities are less clear. PURPOSE: To assess African American adult and adolescent baseline perceptions of targeted food and beverage marketing. METHODS: The sample included 67 adult and teen participants from two sites: Durham, NC and Prince Georges County, MD. Two adult and two gender-specific adolescent focus groups were convened at both sites. Participants were presented with various food and beverage marketing images and scenarios and discussed their opinions on strategies used to target African Americans. Data were collected using auto response software for instantaneous tabulation to prompt independent responses and general discussion, and through audio recordings. RESULTS: Adults and adolescents were aware that various strategies are used to market products to African Americans. Adults did not feel individually influenced, but some felt advertisements with celebrities influence youth. Although adults and adolescents acknowledged that businesses need to make a profit, adolescent males in Durham and others thought marketing should be equitable across racial groups. Both adults and adolescents stressed the importance of personal choice and decision-making responsibilities, but expressed concern over varied availability and prices of certain products.

CONCLUSIONS: African American adults and adolescents perceived targeted food and beverage marketing in the context of individual choice, typical business practices, and responsibility of individuals and marketers to African American communities.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the perceptions of food marketing environments, including, price, promotion, availability, and food products, in African American adults and children and the potential implications of these perceptions for policy development. 2. Assess possible regional or socioeconomic status differences in food marketing perspectives of African Americans.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I conduct health promotion and disease prevention research in under-served and vulnerable populations, with emphasis on lifestyle behaviors.
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.