The extent and nature of televised food advertising to New Zealand children and adolescents

Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Feb;23(1):49-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-842x.1999.tb01204.x.


Objective: There has been international concern over the balance of television advertising for healthy and less-healthy foods to which children and adolescents are exposed. This study examined the extent to which 9-17 year old New Zealanders were exposed to advertising for different food groups over a year and compared New Zealand rates of advertising with a 13-country study.

Method: 'People meter' data collected over three months--May and September 1995 and February 1996--and food advertising from a sample week of television during hours when children were likely to be watching were also examined. Comparison was made with a similar 1989 South Australian study and an international study covering 13 countries.

Results: Both the exposure estimated for a year and the opportunities for exposure during the sample week were highest for sweet snacks, drinks, fast food/takeaways and breakfast cereals. There were very low levels for fruit, vegetables, and meat/fish/eggs. Water was not advertised in any sample month. Comparisons with the 13-country study showed New Zealand had the third-highest rate of food advertising, the highest rate of confectionery and drinks advertising, and the second-highest rate of restaurant advertising which included fast food restaurants.

Conclusion: Current patterns of food advertising pose a conflict of interest between public health and commercial interests. Regulation of food advertising may be needed to address this in order to improve future health.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Data Collection
  • Food / classification
  • Humans
  • New Zealand
  • Public Health
  • South Australia
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors