Food Advertising on Television Targeting Children in Honduras

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Background: Rates of childhood overweight and obesity have increased dramatically across Latin America in recent years. In Honduras, the problem is more common among children of upper and middle socio-economic status (SES). Evidence suggests that television advertising of high-energy-density (HED) foods may be associated with increased rates of childhood overweight and obesity.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to characterize the advertising of foods during television programming that targets school-age children in Honduras.

Methods: Content analysis was performed on four different television stations accessible to children in Honduras, including one broadcast station and three cable networks. Programming for each station was observed and recorded for one complete week, during after-school hours (defined as 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Monday through Friday). Eighty hours of programming were recorded and analyzed. Foods were categorized as being high in energy density or not (HED or non-HED).

Results: A total of 2271 advertisements aired during the observation period; roughly half of these (49.3 percent) were product advertisements. Of the 1120 product advertisements, 397 marketed food-related products. Of these, 69.8 percent promoted HED foods. Children were targeted in the vast majority of advertisements for HED foods (92.1 percent). All of these foods were advertised on cable networks; none of the advertisements for HED foods were aired on broadcast television.

Conclusion: Cable television during after-school hours in Honduras included a high percentage of advertisements for HED foods. This may promote consumption of these foods by children, putting them at greater risk for overweight and obesity.






Gunderson, Matthew Donald (2012). Food Advertising on Television Targeting Children in Honduras. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from


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