Background: Children in the United States (US) are frequently exposed to advertisements for high-fat, high-sugar (HFHS) foods, which is linked to greater demand for and consumption of those foods. Restricting advertisements for HFHS foods may be a viable obesity prevention strategy - however, public support for policy change is unclear. Methods: A secondary analysis of the 2012 Annenberg National Health Communication Survey was conducted. Respondents (N = 1838) were 53.2% female, mean age 50.0 ± 16.5 years. Race/ethnic composition was 76.8% white, 7.4% black, 9.2% Hispanic, and 6.6% other. The percentage of respondents supporting and opposing the regulation was calculated and logistic regression models identified predictors of support. Potential predictors included sociodemographic variables, attitudes towards other health regulations (e.g., smoking bans in public places), and various health behaviors (e.g., fruit and vegetable intake). Results: A total of 56.3% of respondents supported or strongly supported advertisement restrictions, while only 8.2% strongly opposed. Approximately 20% had no opinion. Greatest support was found among respondents who supported smoking bans in public settings (OR = 4.3), who supported banning trans fats in restaurants (OR = 1.7), and who were older (OR = 1.7). Conclusion: The US adult population appears to have an appetite for restricting HFHS advertising to children, with more than half the populace supporting such a policy in 2012. This may be an opportune time to implement and rigorously evaluate such childhood obesity prevention strategies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics