Food and nutrition in Canadian "prime time" television commercials.
Television is, arguably, the most influential mass medium and "prime time" viewing attracts the largest audiences. To assess the type, number and nutritional content of foods advertised on TV, commercial breaks during "prime time" (7:00 to 11:00 p.m.) on five Canadian channels (CBC-English, CBC-French, CTV, CFPL, Much Music) were recorded and analyzed. A similar analysis of Saturday morning children's TV commercials was also performed. Commercials for foods and food products constituted between 24-35% of all commercials, the largest advertising output for any group of products. The combination of food presented in commercials reflected average current consumption patterns. Of special concern was the emphasis on low nutrition beverages, especially beer, as well as snacks and candy on Much Music. While further government intervention to restrict advertising practices may be an impractical option, there is scope for increasing the alternative promotion of healthy dietary choices.
Ostbye, T; Pomerleau, J; White, M; Coolich, M; McWhinney, J
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