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Title: Food advertising to children on UK television in 2012 : implications for dental health
Author: Al-Mazyad, Muneera
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 0631
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2015
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Background: British children are exposed to higher levels of unhealthy than healthy food advertising through the television programmes they watch (Boyland et al., 2011). Needless to say, television is one of the most powerful media through which products can be promoted (Coon et al., 2001). Cairns et al. (2013), in their systematic review, found that television food advertisements can have a direct effect on children’s dietary choices, behaviours and attitudes. Furthermore, evidence shows that children who spend more time watching television are at a greater risk of developing caries (Locker, 2000). Show and Smith (1999) found an increase in the frequency of consumption of unhealthy food and beverages which could be damaging to children’s dental health. Cairns et al. (2013) found food advertisements to be a significant and independent determinant of children’s food behaviours. Therefore, it is crucial to explore to what extent foods that are potentially harmful to dental health are being promoted on UK television. Aim: To examine the prevalence of advertising of food and beverages on UK television watched by children, with a specific focus on foods that are potentially detrimental to dental health. Materials and Methods: Television sampling: Data were collected from 352 hours of television recorded from the main commercial UK channel, ITV 1, between January and December 2012. One weekday and one weekend day every month (both from 6am-10pm, i.e. 16 hours each) were recorded. Of the targeted 384 recorded hours, 32 hours were missing due to recording errors. Coding: Recorded television hours were scanned and both food and non-food adverts were coded according to a coding scheme previously used in Boyland et al. (2011), Kelly et al. (2010) and Gantz et al. (2007), which included the type of programme in which the advertisement was shown, and peak and non-peak children’s viewing times. Food adverts were classified, based on their effect on general health, into core/healthy, non-care/unhealthy, miscellaneous foods. They were further classified based on their effect on dental health into foods that are potentially harmful (cariogenic and acidogenic food products) and not harmful to dental health. Results: 9151 adverts were coded. Food products were the second most commonly advertised products, which accounted for 16.7% of all adverts (n= 1532). Adverts for foods that are potentially harmful to dental health comprised nearly two-thirds of all food adverts (61%; n= 934) and of these, 96.6% were cariogenic foods. Adverts for cariogenic foods with high and very high sugar levels ( > 9 g/100g or 100ml) represented 44.7% of all cariogenic food adverts. Of the advertised food products with very high sugar levels, sticky foods (50%) were the most frequently advertised products. Soft drinks were the most commonly advertised acidogenic foods/drinks, representing 52.4% of all acidogenic foods/drinks advertised. During peak children’s viewing hours, foods that are potentially harmful to dental health comprised nearly two-thirds (65.9%) of all food advertisements shown, which was significantly higher than the proportion of adverts for foods non-harmful to dental health (34.1%) (p = 0.011). Although the proportion of adverts for foods potentially harmful to dental health was less than 1% during children’s programmes, those adverts were shown significantly more often during other programmes watched by children and young people, such as entertainment (25.9 %) and game shows (16.8 %)(p < 0.001). Conclusion: Children are exposed to a considerably high proportion of advertisements for foods that are potentially detrimental to their dental health during children’s peak viewing hours and also around programmes watched by young people. The direct effect of television food advertisements on children’s dietary choices (Cairns et al., 2013) and the increase in the risk of caries associated with an increase in time spent watching television (Locker, 2000) suggest the need to apply stronger regulations that help reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertisements.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.D.Sc.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: RK Dentistry