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Television food advertising to children in Slovenia: analyses using a large 12-month advertising dataset

Abstract

Objectives

The marketing of energy-dense foods is recognised as a probable causal factor in children’s overweight and obesity. To stimulate policymakers to start using nutrient profiling to restrict food marketing, a harmonised model was recently proposed by the WHO. Our objective is to evaluate the television advertising of foods in Slovenia using the above-mentioned model.

Methods

An analysis is performed using a representative dataset of 93,902 food-related advertisements broadcast in Slovenia in year 2013. The advertisements are linked to specific foods, which are then subject to categorisation according to the WHO and UK nutrient profile model.

Results

Advertising of chocolate and confectionery represented 37 % of food-related advertising in all viewing times, and 77 % in children’s (4–9 years) viewing hours. During these hours, 96 % of the food advertisements did not pass the criteria for permitted advertising according to the WHO profile model.

Conclusions

Evidence from Slovenia shows that, in the absence of efficient regulatory marketing restrictions, television advertising of food to children is almost exclusively linked to energy-dense foods. Minor modifications of the proposed WHO nutrient profile model are suggested.

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Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank AGB Nielsen (Slovenia) and Mr Boštjan Kušnjerek for support in access to and analyses of the advertising data. We also acknowledge the help of food science and technology students (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia) in the data collection, and Murray Bales for providing assistance with the language. The authors would also like to acknowledge that Igor Pravst has led/participated in various other research projects in the area of nutrition/public health/food technology, which were (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food of the Republic of Slovenia, and in case of specific applied research projects also by food businesses.

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Correspondence to Igor Pravst.

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This study was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency (Research programme P3-0395: Nutrition and Public Health). The funding organisation had no role in the design, analysis or writing of this article.

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The authors declare that they have no other potential conflicts of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Korošec, Ž., Pravst, I. Television food advertising to children in Slovenia: analyses using a large 12-month advertising dataset. Int J Public Health 61, 1049–1057 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00038-016-0896-7

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Keywords

  • Food advertising
  • Nutrient profile
  • Regulation
  • Children
  • Television
  • Marketing