Eye-tracking children's fast-food choices as influenced by television advertising

The Foundation's program, Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity, was designed to support investigator-initiated research to identify and assess environmental and policy influences with the greatest potential to improve healthy eating and weight patterns among the nation's children.Children are increasingly exposed to fast-food advertising and are increasingly consuming food from fast-food sources. Under the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, fast-food companies continue to promote fast food to children. Ads directed at children under the age of 12 usually include a variety of components featuring the brand logo, and a mix of healthy items (i.e., milk, apples) and less healthy traditional fast-food items (i.e., hamburger, French fries). Using eye-tracking technology to objectively measure children's attention to fast-food advertising, this study will: (1) examine the pattern and duration of attention to logos, healthy products, and unhealthy products featured in fast-food television ads seen by a racially/ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sample of children aged 2-5 years and 6-11 years in Austin, Texas; and (2) compare the impact of fast-food ads which include healthy components, such as milk or apples with those that present only traditional unhealthy fast-food products on children's food choices. Results will assess which components of fast-food ads children attend most to and whether and how attention varies across sub-populations. Deliverables include manuscripts to be submitted to peer-reviewed journals and dissemination of study findings through media coverage, research briefs, the Bridging the Gap website, social media, and meetings with policymakers and other stakeholders.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $169,364.00

Awarded on: 12/4/2012

Time frame: 12/1/2012 - 8/31/2014

Grant Number: 70550


University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Health Research and Policy

Westside Research Office Building, 5th Floor M/C 275
1747 West Roosevelt Road
Chicago, 60608-1264


Lisa M. Powell
Project Director