A content analysis of children's television advertising: focus on food and oral health

M Morgan, R Fairchild, A Phillips, K Stewart, L Hunter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To analyse the nature and content of advertising during children’s popular television viewing times with the specific aims of (i) identifying the proportion of advertising time devoted to confectionery and potentially cariogenic products (those which readily give rise to dental caries, more commonly known as tooth decay); and (ii) determining whether there is a variation in the advertisement of confectionery and other high-sugar products within children’s school holiday time v. outside holiday time.

Method: In five separate one-week periods, the output of the four most popular British children’s commercial television channels was video-recorded during the most popular viewing times for children. In total, 503 h of television were recorded and analysed.

Results: Analysis of the recordings revealed that 16·4 % of advertising time was devoted to food products; 6·3 % of all advertising time was devoted to potentially cariogenic products. Sugared cereals were the most commonly advertised high-sugar product, followed by sweetened dairy products and confectionery (χ2 = 6524·8, df = 4, P < 0·001). The advertisement of confectionery and high-sugar foods appeared to be influenced by school holidays.

Conclusions: Health-care professionals should be aware of the shift away from the advertisement of confectionery towards the promotion of foods that might be considered healthier but contain large amounts of hidden sugar.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2009

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