Receptivity to television fast-food restaurant marketing and obesity among U.S. youth

Am J Prev Med. 2013 Nov;45(5):560-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.06.011.


Background: Advertisement of fast food on TV may contribute to youth obesity.

Purpose: The goal of the study was to use cued recall to determine whether TV fast-food advertising is associated with youth obesity.

Methods: A national sample of 2541 U.S. youth, aged 15-23 years, were surveyed in 2010-2011; data were analyzed in 2012. Respondents viewed a random subset of 20 advertisement frames (with brand names removed) selected from national TV fast-food restaurant advertisements (n=535) aired in the previous year. Respondents were asked if they had seen the advertisement, if they liked it, and if they could name the brand. A TV fast-food advertising receptivity score (a measure of exposure and response) was assigned; a 1-point increase was equivalent to affirmative responses to all three queries for two separate advertisements. Adjusted odds of obesity (based on self-reported height and weight), given higher TV fast-food advertising receptivity, are reported.

Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity, weighted to the U.S. population, was 20% and 16%, respectively. Obesity, sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, fast-food restaurant visit frequency, weekday TV time, and TV alcohol advertising receptivity were associated with higher TV fast-food advertising receptivity (median=3.3 [interquartile range: 2.2-4.2]). Only household income, TV time, and TV fast-food advertising receptivity retained multivariate associations with obesity. For every 1-point increase in TV fast-food advertising receptivity score, the odds of obesity increased by 19% (OR=1.19, 95% CI=1.01, 1.40). There was no association between receptivity to televised alcohol advertisements or fast-food restaurant visit frequency and obesity.

Conclusions: Using a cued-recall assessment, TV fast-food advertising receptivity was found to be associated with youth obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising*
  • Cues
  • Fast Foods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Restaurants
  • Television / statistics & numerical data
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult