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Racial/Ethnic and Income Disparities in Child and Adolescent Exposure to Food and Beverage Television Ads across the U.S. Media Markets

Powell LM, Wada R and Kumanyika SK. Health & Place. 29:124-31, 2014.

Obesity prevalence and related health burdens are greater among U.S. racial/ethnic minority and low-income populations. Targeted advertising may contribute to disparities. Designated market area (DMA) spot television ratings were used to assess geographic differences in child/adolescent exposure to food-related advertisements based on DMA-level racial/ethnic and income characteristics. Controlling for unobserved DMA-level factors and time trends, child/adolescent exposure to food-related ads, particularly for sugar-sweetened beverages and fast-food restaurants, was significantly higher in areas with higher proportions of black children/adolescents and lower-income households. Geographically targeted TV ads are important to consider when assessing obesity-promoting influences in black and low-income neighborhoods.

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