Online Program

Prevalence of conflicting advertisements in parenting magazines: Implications for health education efforts targeting pregnant women and parents with young children

Monday, November 4, 2013

Sonali Rajan, EdD, MS, Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY
Corey Basch, Ed.D., M.P.H., Department of Public Health, William Paterson University, Wayne, NJ
Rodney Hammond, BS, CHES, Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ
Parenting magazines are a widely used source of information among families with young children. However, the prevalence of advertisements supporting products in direct conflict with the best health needs and interests of infants and young children (e.g. infant formula, soda, and sugar-based cereals) is notable. The purpose of this study was to analyze the prevalence of advertisements and corresponding product type in two well known US parenting magazines with high circulation (American Baby and Parenting) from 2007 - 2012. The total number of advertisements was recorded, enumerating those that advocate for products in conflict with an infant or child's best interest from a total of 93 magazine issues. The proportion of conflicting advertisements and trends in the prevalence of these conflicting advertisements in parenting magazines over time were explored. The authors established an extremely high proportion of 0.99 advertisements per page of content. This trend held for each magazine type: American Baby = 0.99 and Parenting = 1.00. Further, 7.1% of the advertisements in American Baby and 9.2% of the advertisements in Parenting advocated for products in conflict with an infant or child's best health interests. In addition, the mean number of these conflicting advertisements has increased steadily across both magazines since 2008. Given the widespread reach that parenting magazines have, these findings suggest that health education efforts, particularly among pregnant women and parents with young children, should be made to help them increase their ability to discern products that are optimal for health versus those which are suboptimal.

Learning Areas:

Communication and informatics
Public health or related education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the prevalence of advertisements supporting products in conflict with an infant or child’s best interest in two well-known parenting magazines with high circulation. Discuss the implications of conflicting advertising on decision-making among pregnant women and parents with young children.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I am trained as a researcher in the field of health education, have supplementary training in applied statistics (which contributed to the analyses conducted in this study), and also have specific experience working with our study's population of interest (families and young children).
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.