A thematic content analysis of children’s food advertising

  • Roberts M
  • Pettigrew S
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In an era of unprecedented childhood obesity, uncertainty exists as to whether attitudes and behaviours modelled in food advertising are influencing children’s diets. An audit of food advertising aimed at children was conducted to identify elements that may influ- ence children’s food socialisation. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis methods were used to provide (1) descriptive statistics of incidence and (2) a thematic analysis of messages contained in a sample of food advertisements screened in Perth, Australia, dur- ing children’s morning television programming. Across 28.5 hours of children’s program- ming, 950 advertisements were aired, 212 of which were for food products. The qualitative themes evident in the ads were the prevalence of grazing, the denigration of core foods, exaggerated health claims, and the implied ability of certain foods to enhance popularity, performance and mood.

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  • M Roberts

  • S Pettigrew

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