Fast-Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and its Influence on Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Research

Using the 1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, researchers estimate the effect of fast-food restaurant television advertising on children and adolescents and being overweight.

What researchers found: Overall, exposure to fast-food restaurant advertising increases the likelihood of children and adolescents being overweight. Banning fast-food and restaurant television advertisements would reduce the number of overweight children ages 3–11 by 18 percent. The number of overweight adolescents aged 12–18 would decrease by 14 percent. By eliminating the tax deductibility of food advertising costs, the number of overweight children and adolescents would reduce by 7 and 5 percent, respectively.

Why we chose this publication: While previous studies have examined the association between childhood obesity and television viewing, this study provides evidence that a ban solely on television fast-food restaurant advertising may effectively reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children. These researchers suggest that the elimination of the tax deductibility of television fast-food restaurant advertising may serve as another policy option worthy of further exploration.

What researchers studied: Fast-food restaurant television advertising data was collected from Competitive Media Reporting (CMR). Both the1979 Child-Young Adult National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth provided information on children and adolescents.