Impact of Marketing
Research has consistently demonstrated effects of food marketing exposure on brand preferences as well as longer-term risks to child and adolescent health.
Several papers have reviewed the extensive literature on effects of food marketing to children, including comprehensive reviews by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and Hastings and colleagues for the UK Food Standards Agency. Reviews consistently conclude that television food advertising increases children’s preferences for advertised foods, food choices following exposure and requests to parents for advertised products. The Hastings report also argues that food advertising increases preferences for unhealthy categories of foods.
These reviews also highlight the need for additional research on causal effects of food marketing to young people. Recent studies by the Rudd Center and others begin to address this need and demonstrate even broader effects of food marketing on the health of children and adolescents.
Research and resources
- Various opportunities exist for local, state, and federal actions to prevent the harmful consequences of food marketing to children.
- Television food advertising increases snack food consumption during and immediately following exposure.
- Playing unhealthy advergames increases unhealthy snack food consumption, whereas playing healthy advergames increase fruit and vegetable consumption.
- Licensed characters on product packaging lead preschoolers to like the taste of unhealthy foods more.
- Exposure to fast food advertising predicts higher BMI among children and exposure to soft drink advertising is associated with increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.