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Food appearances in children’s television programmes in Iceland

  • Steingerdur Olafsdottir (a1) and Christina Berg (a2)
Abstract Objective

Exposure to advertisements cannot fully explain the associations between young children’s dietary intake and the time they spend in front of the television. It is therefore of importance to study television content other than advertisements in this aspect. The present study aimed to examine the nature and extent of verbal and visual appearances of foods and beverages in children’s television programmes on Icelandic public service television.


A total of 27 h of children’s programmes (domestic and internationally produced) were watched. All verbal and visual appearances of foods and beverages were coded, as well as the context in which the foods/beverages were discussed or appeared.


Children’s programmes on Icelandic public service television.


Two food groups were of special interest for their importance from a public health perspective: high-calorie and low-nutrient (HCLN) foods and fruits and vegetables (F&V). The χ 2 test and logistic regression were performed to analyse if the occurrence of the two groups was associated with the context where foods/beverages appeared.


Of the 125 different programmes, a food or beverage appeared in 86 %. Of the total food appearances (n 599), HCLN foods accounted for 26 % and F&V for 23 %. HCLN foods were presented as desirable by appearing more frequently with child characters (P<0·01) than F&V.


Public service television has the potential to improve the way food and eating is presented in children’s programmes, as young childhood is a critical period for founding healthy habits for later life.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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