Television food advertising to children in Malta.

Cauchi, D; Reiff, S; Knai, C; Gauci, C; Spiteri, J; (2015) Television food advertising to children in Malta. Health promotion international. ISSN 0957-4824 DOI:

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To undertake a cross-sectional survey of the extent and nature of food and beverage advertising to children on Maltese national television stations. Seven national free-to-air channels were recorded for seven consecutive days in March 2014 between 07:00 and 22:00 h. Advertisements were coded according to predefined categories, with a focus on advertisements aired during 'peak' children's viewing times, defined as periods during which more than 25% of children were likely to be watching television on any channel. Food and beverage advertisements were classified as core (healthy), non-core (unhealthy) or miscellaneous foods. Malta. Whole population, with a focus on children. Food and drinks were the most heavily advertised product category (26.9% of all advertisements) across all channels. The proportion of non-core food/drink advertisements was significantly greater during peak compared with non-peak children's viewing times (52 vs 44.6%; p ≤ 0.001). A majority of advertisements aimed at children are for non-core foods, and are typically shown during family-oriented programmes in the late evening rather than being restricted to children's programmes. 'Taste', 'enjoyment' and 'peer status' were the primary persuasive appeals used in adolescent and child-focused advertisements. This first content analysis of television advertising in Malta suggests that there is scope for the implementation of statutory regulation regarding advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) during times when children are likely to watch television, rather than during children's programmes only. Ongoing, systematic monitoring is essential for evaluation of the effectiveness of regulations designed to reduce children's exposure to HFSS food advertising on television.

Item Type: Article
Faculty and Department: Faculty of Public Health and Policy > Dept of Health Services Research and Policy
PubMed ID: 26497587


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