Fast-food marketing receptivity and fast-food consumption among 6-11 year olds
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Obesity is a risk factor for serious diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Although childhood obesity appears to have stabilized somewhat in recent years, the prevalence for 6-11 year olds remains high at 17%. Diet is a major determinant for weight gain in children, and child fast-food consumption has been associated with an unhealthy diet due to poor nutritional quality and excessive caloric content. Unlike other industries that have been linked to negative health outcomes, such as cigarettes and alcohol, fast-food companies are under few regulations regarding marketing toward children. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between children’s receptivity to fast-food marketing, (as measured by awareness of advertising, collecting fast-food toys, as well as ownership/willingness to own fast-food branded merchandise), and weekly fast-food consumption in order to better understand how receptively may be associated with fast-food consumption among 6-11 year olds. A sample of 100 children ages 6-11 years completed a self-report survey, which included questions on exposure to fast-food advertising, whether or not they collected fast-food toys, and their ownership/willingness to own fast-food branded merchandise (such as t-shirts, water bottles, or caps). An index of receptivity was created from these responses. Parents also completed a self-report survey on several domains including child fast food consumption and demographics. Logistic regression models were run, both unadjusted and adjusted for age, race, and gender, to examine the relationship between receptivity to fast food marketing and fast food consumption. Results suggest that neither unadjusted nor adjusted models were significant (OR 1.05, C.I. 0.87 -- 1.28, and OR 1.07, C.I. 0.87 -- 1.30 respectively). Although results of this study suggest there is no relationship between receptivity to fast food marketing and fast food consumption, the results should be interpreted with caution due to the small size of the sample. Therefore, further research is needed with larger samples to determine if these null findings hold.