Food marketing to children on U.S. Spanish-language television

Dale Kunkel, Dana Mastro, Michelle Ortiz, Christopher McKinley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Latino children in particular are at risk of childhood obesity. Because exposure to televised food marketing is a contributor to childhood obesity, it is important to examine the nutritional quality of foods advertised on Spanish-language children's programming. The authors analyzed a sample of 158 Spanish-language children's television programs for its advertising content and compared them with an equivalent sample of English-language advertising. The authors evaluated nutritional quality of each advertised product using a food rating system from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the authors assessed compliance with industry self-regulatory pledges. The authors found that amount of food advertising on Spanish-language channels (M = 2.2 ads/hour) was lower than on English-language programs, but the nutritional quality of food products on Spanish-language channels was substantially poorer than on English channels. Industry self-regulation was less effective on Spanish-language channels. The study provides clear evidence of significant disparities. Food advertising targeted at Spanish-speaking children is more likely to promote nutritionally poor food products than advertising on English-language channels. Industry self-regulation is less effective on Spanish-language television channels. Given the disproportionately high rate of childhood obesity among Latinos, the study's findings hold important implications for public health policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1084-1096
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Health Communication
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2013


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