Community Dental Health

cover art

Cover Date:
June 2014
Print ISSN:
0265 539X

CDH June14 3241-Gatou pp68-74.pdf

Community Dental Health (2014) 31, 68–74 Received 20 June 2013; Accepted 14 November 2013

© BASCD 2014 doi:10.1922/CDH_3241Gatou07

The extent of food advertising to children on Greek television: focus on foods potentially detrimental to oral health

Objectives: To investigate the extent and nature of food advertising to children on Greek television, focusing on the adverts for foods with potential harmful effects on oral health, and to examine the persuasive marketing techniques used to promote food products. Methods: Advertisements broadcast on six TV-channels during children’s peak viewing times on two weekdays and two weekend days in the period May-June 2010 were recorded (166.7 hours). Each advertisement was coded according to: date, day, length, type of program in which the ad appeared, type of product advertised and promotional technique used. Food advertisements were subdivided according to their sugar and/or acid content as potentially harmful or non-harmful to teeth. Results: Food advertisements had an average frequency of 8.0 per hour during children’s peak viewing times with highest frequency (11.4 per hour) on weekends during child-focused programs. Of all advertisements, 1330 (26.7%) were for foods, and 595 (44.7%) of these deemed to be potentially harmful to teeth. The most commonly advertised food product during children’s programs was confectionery, 80 (27.7%). Of food advertisements, 199 (15.0%) used at least one of the promotional techniques likely to appeal to children. Advertisements for foods potentially harmful for teeth were more likely to be shown during child-focused programs (OR 2.92, 95%CI 2.04-4.16) and to promise a free gift with purchase (OR 35.43, 95%CI 10.83-115.88). Conclusion: Children in Greece are exposed to a large volume of advertisements for unhealthy foods and drinks, which intensively use persuasive techniques proved to affect children’s food preferences and consumption. Our study provides evidence that could support advocacy and interventions for the regulation of food advertising.

Key words: food and beverages, advertisements, persuasive communication, children, oral health

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T. Gatou, E. Mamai-Homata, A. Polychronopoulou, H. Koletsi-Kounari

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