Start Date: November 2010

ID #: 68242

Principal Investigator: Dale Kunkel, PhD

Organization: University of Arizona

Funding Round: Round 5

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Televised food advertising to children has long been dominated by low-nutrient, high-calorie products. In response to public and policy-maker concern, 16 of the nation’s largest food conglomerates participate in a self-regulatory initiative in an effort to improve the nutritional quality of foods advertised to children, known as the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). This study will include a content analysis to evaluate the impact of the CFBAI on the overall nutritional quality of foods advertised on television to children. Previous studies employing identical content-based measures were conducted in 2005, well before any self-regulatory efforts began, and in 2009, after the CFBAI was fully implemented. The most recent 2009 findings indicate that industry self-regulation resulted in little improvement in the nutritional quality of advertised foods, despite the fact that companies generally complied with their pledges. This new research will gather additional data in 2011 to assess the adequacy of industry self-regulation at meeting several policy goals, including achievement of significant improvements in the overall nutritional quality of foods marketed to children, and an end to the use of licensed characters to promote unhealthy foods. The study will classify the nutritional quality of foods advertised on television to children using a food rating system devised by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Go-Slow-Whoa).

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