Exposure to large numbers of television advertisements for foods and beverages with little or no nutritional value likely contributes to poor diet among youth. Given higher rates of obesity and overweight for Hispanic youth, it is important to understand the amount and types of food advertising they view.
To quantify the amount of food and beverage advertising viewed by Hispanic youth on Spanish- and English-language television and compare it with the amount of food and beverage advertising viewed by non-Hispanic youth.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Data on gross rating points that measured advertising viewed on national broadcast and cable television in 2010 using a Nielsen panel of television-viewing households of Hispanic and non-Hispanic preschoolers (2-5 years), children (6-11 years), and adolescents (12-17 years).
Main Outcomes and Measures
Food and beverage television advertisements viewed on English- and Spanish-language television by product category and television-viewing times by age and language preference.
Food and beverage advertising on Spanish- and English-language television.
In 2010, Hispanic preschoolers, children, and adolescents viewed, on average, 11.6 to 12.4 television food ads per day; the majority of these ads (75%-85%) appeared on English-language television. Fast food represented a higher proportion of food ads on Spanish-language television. Consistent with television-viewing patterns, Hispanic preschoolers saw more Spanish-language food advertisements than did Hispanic children and adolescents. Owing to somewhat less food advertising on Spanish-language television, Hispanic children and adolescents viewed 14% and 24% fewer food ads overall, respectively, compared with non-Hispanic youth. Spanish-language television viewing was highly concentrated among youth who primarily speak Spanish.
Conclusions and Relevance
Both Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth view large numbers of television advertisements for nutrient-poor categories of food and beverage. Although Hispanic children and adolescents see somewhat fewer of these ads, the higher obesity rates among Hispanic youth, the greater exposure by Hispanic preschoolers, and the potential enhanced effects of targeted advertising on Hispanic youth suggest that this exposure may pose additional risks for Hispanic youth. Continued monitoring is warranted owing to food companies’ stated intentions to increase marketing to Hispanics.