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After-School Advertising on Spanish-Language Television in the United States

This study examines the exposure of Latino children to commercials for unhealthy food on Spanish-language television. The researchers find that the food products marketed to the Spanish community include a high proportion of sugared beverages and fast-­food products.

Food and drink marketing on television may influence children's eating habits. Although several studies have examined the content of English-language television and the food commercials that children watch, this is the first analysis of Spanish-language television advertising in the United States. This study is important considering Latinos have the highest rate of overweight and risk for overweight of any racial or ethnic group, at 37 percent.

The researchers performed a content analysis of food and drink advertisements that aired over a one-week period during after-school hours on two leading U.S. Spanish-language programs.

Key Findings:

  • Out of 989 product advertisements, 15 percent were for food and drink. The average length of an ad was 30 seconds.
  • The most commonly advertised food groups were fast food (31%) and drinks (29%).
  • Fast-food ads made up 44 percent of the food commercials. More than half (54%) of the drink commercials were for sugared beverages.

These findings are consistent with previous studies evaluating English-language television commercials. This study is a first step in understanding the marketing of food and drinks on Spanish-language television and the likely exposure of Latino children to commercials for unhealthy food.

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