Searchable abstracts of presentations at key conferences in obesity
Obesity Abstracts (2019) 1 P25 | DOI: 10.1530/obabs.01.P25

UKCO2019 Poster Presentations (1) (64 abstracts)

Effects of advertising on children’s understanding and attitudes: use of public and patient involvement to understand young people’s response to a systematic review

Jessica Packer 1 , Simon Russell 1 , Stephanie Smith 2 , Russell Viner 1 & Helen Croker 1


1University College London, London, UK; 2National Children’s Bureau, London, UK.

Background: Food advertising increases young people’s acute calorie intake and in response, the UK Government is consulting on a 9 pm pre-watershed for television/online advertising for high fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) foods; however, more subtle effects of advertising on children’s understanding and attitudes are unclear. We undertook a systematic review assessing the influence of advertising on children and adolescents’ decision-making. A key element of the work was a patient and public involvement (PPI) exercise which sought to gain an understanding of young people’s perspectives of the findings and proposed policy changes.

Methods: The PPI group comprised young people from across England and was facilitated by the National Children’s Bureau in London, UK. The young people were all trained ‘young research advisers’, aged 8–25 years. Researchers facilitated a 2-hour group discussion to explore what the young people perceived to be the key findings from the review and to discuss proposed and potential policy initiatives.

Results: Nine young people (aged 10–23 years) agreed that advertising strongly influences behaviour, even if there is an understanding about the persuasive nature of advertising. The group supported a pre-watershed ban of television advertising of HFSS foods. There was support for either an overall online pre-watershed ban or for targeted sites (e.g. YouTube). The group was surprised that advertising restrictions were self-regulated and were aware of pressures from the food industry. The young people had various ideas for future policy initiatives: adverts be labelled within social media posts and with stricter rules for ‘influencers’; clearer warnings on food packaging; improved ease of lodging complaints; increased advertising of healthy foods; and increased availability of affordable healthier foods.

Conclusions: This user-involvement group were enthusiastic about the topic, felt strongly that advertising was a powerful influence on young people’s behaviour, and should be strongly regulated. The PPI exercise was insightful, and made a substantial contribution to the potential impact of this work on policy initiatives.

Keywords: Obesity, child and adolescent health, policy, patient and public involvement

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Volume 1

UK Congress on Obesity 2019

Leeds, United Kingdom
12 Sep 2019 - 13 Sep 2019

Association for the Study of Obesity 

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