moderator effects were not subjected to the same stringent analyses done for the effects described earlier in this chapter as part of the systematic evidence review, the following should be considered a narrative review of moderator effects.
The systematic evidence review examined whether, across studies, there were age group differences in the influence of television food and beverage advertising. It found that there were no differences in effects on young and older children and that in both age groups, there were relationships between food and beverage advertising and precursors of diet, diet, and diet-related health. Findings with respect to teens were not as clear because of lack of evidence or, in the case of diet, lack of effect. In the present section, studies are reviewed that analyzed for moderating effects of age.
Eight studies tested the relationship between advertising and precursors of diet from younger to older children, with six finding that age did not moderate the influence of television advertising. Of the two studies that found an effect of age as a moderator, one (Faber et al., 1984) found that younger children were more likely to recall a health message that was based on fear than were older children and teens. The other study (Kunkel, 1988) found that younger children were more influenced by cereal commercials than were older children, although this difference disappeared when the advertisements were presented in a host-selling format (use of the same characters in commercials as are featured in the adjacent program content), a tactic that is prohibited on broadcast television by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC, 1974). Overall, age has not been found to be a consistent moderator of advertising effects on precursors of diet. This finding is consistent with that of the systematic evidence review.
A review of the studies on the influence of advertising on diet leads to a similar finding. Of four studies that tested age as a moderator from younger to older children and that involved experimental use of television advertising or product placement, none found that age was a significant moderator, although all found the advertising and product placement to influence food and beverage choices. Two studies examined diet in relation to amount of television viewing as a measure of advertising exposure, one using teens and one using older children. Neither found age differences in effects within the teen years or within the older children. Again, there is no evidence that age is a consistent moderator of the effects of television advertising and again, there is little evidence with respect to teens, especially in comparison to younger ages.
When the relationship of adiposity and television viewing as a measure of advertising exposure was considered, it was found that seven studies