Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

A content analysis of food advertisements appearing in parenting magazines

  • Jennifer A Manganello (a1), Katherine Clegg Smith (a2), Katie Sudakow (a1) and Amber C Summers (a2)
Abstract
AbstractObjective

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the USA. As parents play a major role in shaping a child's diet, the present study examines food advertisements (ads) directed towards parents in parenting and family magazines.

Design

Given the potential for magazines to influence attitudes and knowledge, we used content analysis to examine the food ads appearing in four issues each of six different parenting and family magazines from 2008 (n 24).

Setting

USA.

Subjects

Food ads in parenting and family magazines.

Results

We identified 476 food ads, which represented approximately 32 % of all ads in the magazine sample. Snack foods (13 %) were the most frequently observed food ads, followed by dairy products (7 %). The most frequently used sales theme was ‘taste’ (55 %). Some ads promoted foods as ‘healthy’ (14 %) and some made specific health claims (18 %), such as asserting the product would help lower cholesterol. In addition to taste and health and nutrition appeals, we found several themes used in ad messages to promote products, including the following: ‘convenience’, ‘economical’, ‘fun’ and ‘helping families spend time together’. We also found that over half (n 405, 55·9 %) of products (n 725) advertised were products of poor nutritional quality based on total fat, saturated fat, sodium, protein, sugar and fibre contents, and that ads for such products were slightly more likely to use certain sales themes like ‘fun’ (P = 0·04) and ‘no guilt’ (P = 0·03).

Conclusions

Interventions should be developed to help parents understand nutritional information seen in food ads and to learn how various foods contribute to providing a balanced family diet.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      A content analysis of food advertisements appearing in parenting magazines
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      A content analysis of food advertisements appearing in parenting magazines
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      A content analysis of food advertisements appearing in parenting magazines
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email jmanganello@albany.edu
References
Hide All
1.Ogden C & Carroll M (2010) Prevalence of Obesity among Children and Adolescents: United States, Trends 1963–1965 through 2007–2008. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2.US Department of Health and Human Services (not dated) Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, DHSS; available at http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/child_obesity/
3.Carruth B & Skinner J (2001) Mothers’ sources of information about feeding their children ages 2 months to 54 months. J Nutr Educ 33, 143147.
4.European Food Information Council (1998) Consumer attitudes to food, nutrition and health. Food Today, August issue; available at http://www.eufic.org/article/en/artid/consumer-attitudes-food-nutrition-health/
5.Jensen H (1993) Sources of information, consumer attitudes on nutrition, and consumption of dairy products. J Consum Aff 27, 357376.
6.Foss K & Southwell B (2006) Infant feeding and the media: the relationship between Parents’ Magazine content and breastfeeding, 1972–2000. Int Breastfeed J 1, 10.
7.Gamble M & Cotugna N (1999) A quarter century of TV food advertising targeted at children. Am J Health Behav 23, 261268.
8.Harrison K & Marske AL (2005) Nutritional content of foods advertised during the television programs children watch most. Am J Public Health 95, 15681574.
9.Kotz K & Story M (1994) Food advertisements during children's Saturday morning television programming: are they consistent with dietary recommendations? J Am Diet Assoc 94, 12961300.
10.Jones SC & Reid A (2010) Children's magazines: reading resources or food marketing tools? Public Health Nutr 13, 393399.
11.Cowburn G & Boxer A (2007) Magazines for children and young people and the links to Internet food marketing: a review of the extent and type of food advertising. Public Health Nutr 10, 10241031.
12.Adams J, Simpson E & White M (2011) Variations in food and drink advertising in UK monthly women's magazines according to season, magazine type and socio-economic profile of readers: a descriptive study of publications over 12 months. BMC Public Health 11, 268.
13.Adams J & White M (2009) Socio-economic and gender differences in nutritional content of foods advertised in popular UK weekly magazines. Eur J Public Health 19, 144149.
14.Zwier S (2009) Medicalisation of food advertising: nutrition and health claims in magazine food advertisements 1990–2008. Appetite 53, 109113.
15.Jones SC, Andrews KL, Tapsell L et al. (2008) The extent and nature of ‘health messages’ in magazine food advertising in Australia. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 17, 317324.
16.Hill J & Radimer K (1996) Health and nutrition messages in food advertisements: a comparative content analysis of young and mature Australian women's magazines. J Nutr Educ 28, 313320.
17.Barr S (1989) Nutrition in food advertising: content analysis of a Canadian women's magazine, Canada 1928–1986. J Nutr Educ 21, 6472.
18.Hickman B, Gates G & Dowdy R (1993) Nutritional claims in advertising: a study of four women's magazines. J Nutr Educ 25, 227235.
19.Lohmann J & Kant A (2000) Comparison of food groups and health claims appearing in food advertisements in 3 popular magazine categories. J Am Diet Assoc 100, 13961399.
20.Pratt C & Pratt C (1995) Comparative content analysis of food and nutrition advertisements in Ebony, Essence, and Ladies’ Home Journal. J Nutr Educ 27, 1117.
21.Baker WE (1999) When can affective conditioning and mere exposure directly influence brand choice? J Advertising 28, 3146.
22.Harris JL, Brownell KD & Bargh JA (2009) The food marketing defense model: integrating psychological research to protect youth and inform public policy. Soc Issues Policy Rev 3, 211271.
23.Morris JD, Woo C, Geason JA et al. (2002) The power of affect: predicting intention. J Advertising Res 42, 718.
24.Bandura A (2001) Social Cognitive Theory of mass communication. Media Psychol 3, 265299.
25.Byrd-Bredbenner C & Grasso D (1999) A comparative analysis of television food advertisements and current dietary recommendations. Am J Health Stud 15, 169180.
26.Mink M, Evans A, Moore C et al. (2010) Nutritional imbalance endorsed by televised food advertisements. J Am Diet Assoc 110, 904910.
27.Ulrichsweb™ (2008) Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory. http://ulrichsweb.serialssolutions.com/login (accessed April 2008).
28.Meredith Corporation (2011) Parents Audience. http://www.meredith.com/mediakit/parents/print/audience.html (accessed September 2012).
29.Meredith Corporation (2008) Family Circle Readership. http://www.meredith.com/mediakit/familycircle/production/readership.html (accessed September 2012).
30.Matsa K-EM, Rosenstiel T & Moore P (2011) Magazines: by the numbers.http://stateofthemedia.org/2011/magazines-essay/data-page-4/ (accessed March 2012).
31.Institute of Medicine (2007) Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools: Leading the Way Toward Healthier Youth. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
32.Center for Safety and Applied Nutrition, Food and Drug Administration (2009) Food Labeling Guide. http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceComplianceRegulatoryInformation/GuidanceDocuments/FoodLabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuide/default.htm (accessed December 2011).
33.Jenkin G, Wilson N & Hermanson N (2008) Identifying ‘unhealthy’ food advertising on television: a case study applying the UK Nutrient Profile model. Public Health Nutr 12, 614623.
34.Lingas E, Dorfman L & Bukofzer E (2009) Nutrition content of food and beverage products on web sites popular with children. Am J Public Health 99, Suppl. 3, S587S592.
35.Stitt C & Kunkel D (2008) Food advertising during children's television programming on broadcast and cable channels. Health Commun 23, 573584.
36.Wofford J, Pinson J, Folmar S et al. (1986) Health-related messages in consumer magazine advertising. J Gen Intern Med 10, 488490.
37.Williams P (2005) Consumer understanding and use of health claims for foods. Nutr Rev 63, 256264.
38.Parkin KJ (2006) Food is Love: Advertising and Gender Roles in Modern America. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
39.Pescud M & Pettigrew S (2012) ‘I know it's wrong, but…’: a qualitative investigation of low-income parents’ feelings of guilt about their child-feeding practices. Matern Child Nutr (Epublication ahead ofprint version).
40.Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children (2011) Preliminary Proposed Nutrition Principles to Guide Industry Self-Regulatory Efforts, Request for Comments. http://www.ftc.gov/os/2011/04/110428foodmarketproposedguide.pdf (accessed March 2012).
41.Sharma L, Teret S & Brownell K (2010) The food industry and self-regulation: standards to promote success and avoid public health failures. Am J Public Health 100, 240246.
42.Hindin T, Contento I & Gussow J (2004) A media literacy nutrition education curriculum for Head Start parents about the effects of television advertising on their children's food requests. J Am Diet Assoc 104, 192198.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords:

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 30
Total number of PDF views: 279 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 484 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.