Young People’s Exposure to Snack and Soft Drink Advertising: Attenuating Influences of Awareness and Self-regulation
J.B.F. de Wit1,2, F.M. Stok2, M.T. Chu3, E. de Vet4, T. Gaspar50, D. de Ridder2, J. Wardle3, A. Luszczynska6,7
1University of New South Wales, Australia
2Utrecht University, The Netherlands
3University College London, UK
4 Wageningen University, The Netherlands
5Lusíada University, Portugal
6Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Poland
7University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, USA
Background: Food marketing is ubiquitous in the current food environment and young people’s exposure to snack and soft drink advertising may increase consumption. We test if awareness of persuasive intent and use of self-regulation strategies attenuate the impact of advertising. Methods: Children and adolescents (N = 2,764 Mean age = 13.2; 49.1% girls) from The Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom completed self-reports of snack and soft drink consumption, exposure to snack and soft drink advertising, awareness of persuasive intent of advertising, and eating-related self-regulation. Findings: Participants on average consumed two snacks and two glasses of soft drink per day. Snack and soft drink consumption was higher among those more exposed to advertising. Awareness of persuasive intent moderated the association between exposure to advertising and consumption, as did eating-related self-regulation. Discussion: Young people’s exposure to snack and soft drink advertising may affect consumption, but the effect size of this association was found to be small. The impact of advertising can be attenuated by awareness of its intent and use of self-regulation strategies.