The influence of food and beverage advertising on youth : an eye-tracking approach

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The influence of food and beverage advertising on youth : an eye-tracking approach

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Title: The influence of food and beverage advertising on youth : an eye-tracking approach
Author: Velazquez, Cayley Erin
Abstract: Overweight and obesity are influenced by many factors, however, food and beverage advertising and its influence on the dietary preferences and choices of youth is important. Models providing explanations for the association between advertising and youth outcomes have been proposed, yet few have been tested. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how objective measures of attention to food and beverage advertising were associated with the (1) unhealthy food and beverage preferences (2) unhealthy food and beverage choices and (3) overweight/obesity status of youth, and how susceptibility to food and beverage advertising moderated these associations. Participants included 102 youth (m age = 11.6; 56.4% Caucasian; 43.1% female) who viewed 40 food and beverage advertisements on a computer and had their eye movements recorded. Attention measures included total time, total unhealthy time, fixation length (animated characters/branded logos, unhealthy food and beverage items), and fixation count (animated characters/branded logos, unhealthy food and beverage items). Participants self-reported susceptibility to food and beverage advertising, unhealthy food and beverage preferences, unhealthy food and beverage choices, and overweight/obesity. Regression models, controlling for gender, and moderation analyses were conducted. Fixation length and count for unhealthy food and beverage items were each positively and significantly associated with unhealthy food and beverage preferences. Fixation count for unhealthy food and beverage items was positively and marginally associated with unhealthy food and beverage choices. Findings indicate that individuals who look longer and more frequently at unhealthy food and beverage items appear to prefer them, and may also choose them. Susceptibility to food and beverage advertising moderated the association between fixation count for animated characters/branded logos and BMI z-score, suggesting that under conditions of high susceptibility to food and beverage advertising, those with a higher fixation count for animated characters/branded logos had a lower BMI z-score. Future research should include longitudinal studies, as well as work which examines the role of other potential moderating variables. Findings may have important implications for use in intervention programs, in the development of advertising messages for healthy food and beverage items, and/or policy initiatives aimed at changing the landscape of food and beverage advertising.
Department: Kinesiology and Health Education
Subject: Eye-tracking Advertising Attention Susceptibility Adolescents Dietary preferences Dietary choices Obesity
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/ETD-UT-2012-05-4999
Date: 2012-05

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