Submitted to: American Dietetic Association Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2005
Publication Date: 10/22/2005
Citation: Heendeniya, K.Y., Gloeckner, J.W., Wagner, T.L., Sutton, D.L., Lee, R.E., Moshfegh, A.J. 2005. Televised food ads and children: What do they request and what do parents buy [abstract]? Journal of the American Dietetic Association. 105(8) Supplement:A-66. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Television has heavily influenced Americans for years. Children in the United States spend more time watching television than in any other activity except sleep. Past research indicated that television viewing greatly influences children’s attitudes toward food choices. This study sought to investigate how children’s television viewing influences their food requests, the parental purchase response to these requests, and whether children consume the requested food. Parents of 112 children ages four to eight years completed a survey on children’s television viewing habits and food requests, purchasing patterns of parents, and children’s consumption of requested foods. Two population proportion testing showed that children who viewed 14 hours or more of television per week requested foods seen on television more often than children who viewed less television (z=-4.98, p <0.001). The most requested foods were cereals, fast foods, and other foods high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium. Parents of children who rarely requested foods seen in television advertisements bought the items more often than parents of children who frequently requested foods (z= -4.8, p<0.001). Most (61%) of the requests occurred at the grocery store. Two-thirds of parents reported that their children typically consumed most of the requested foods served. Even though children in this study watched less television and requested foods less often than indicated in past research, it is still of concern that children watching television are requesting foods seen, being successful in getting parents to purchase the foods, and consuming at least half of the served foods.