How marketing affects eating behaviours in children and adolescents

Health, Fitness & Food

Over the past few decades there has been a global trend showing an increase in obesity in children and adolescents. Excess weight can play an important factor for developing noncommunicable diseases (such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes) later in life.

So, what could be driving this global trend in the increase in childhood obesity?

It is though that the key changes include the production of affordable and highly processed foods that are effectively marketed to the younger generation.

These affordable and highly processed foods include both food and/or nonalcoholic beverages that are high in fat, sugar, and/or salt.

Children and adolescents see the marketing of these items through television, digital media, outdoor spaces, and sports.

There isn’t any way of escaping food marketing, and it is thought that children and adolescents are slightly more ‘vulnerable’ to specific marketing strategies.1

It is also though that marketing strategies also negatively affect numerous child rights, including: 1

  1. Right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health,
  2. The right to adequate food, and
  3. The right to privacy.

A recent review of the research was completed on the subject of marketing in regards to children and adolescent eating behaviors and health and their findings supported the recommendation of the WHO: “that member states enact policies to restrict children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing”.1

One way to manage exposure to the unhealthy marketing scheme is to help children and adolescents adopt healthy eating behaviors and give them the tools to help deal with peer-pressure and the high marketing exposure rate.


1) Boyland E, McGale L, Maden M, Hounsome J, Boland A, Angus K, and Jones A. (2022) “Association of Food and Nonalcoholic Beverage Marketing with Children and Adolescents’ Eating Behaviors and Health: A Systemic Review and Meta-analysis” JAMA Pediatrics DOI: 10.1001/jamapediatrics.2022.1037

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

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