With respect to the specific influence of food and beverage marketing on young people’s diets, a systematic evidence review supported the following findings:
There is strong evidence that television advertising influences the short-term consumption of children ages 2–11 years. There is insufficient evidence about its influence on the short-term consumption of teens ages 12–18 years.
There is moderate evidence that television advertising influences the usual dietary intake of younger children ages 2–5 years and weak evidence that it influences the usual dietary intake of older children ages 6–11 years. There is also weak evidence that it does not influence the usual dietary intake of teens ages 12–18 years.
With respect to the specific influence of food and beverage marketing on young people’s diet-related health, a systematic evidence review relied on research investigating the relation between amount of television viewing, among other variables, and diet-related health. Amount of television viewing is highly correlated with amount of exposure to television advertising and is frequently used as a measure of advertising exposure. The committee’s purposes are served by reviewing research about television viewing and diet-related health, but findings about advertising effects are difficult because of measurement quality, alternative explanations of findings, and other factors. With these caveats noted, the systematic evidence review supported the following findings:
Statistically, there is strong evidence that exposure to television advertising is associated with adiposity in children ages 2–11 years and teens ages 12–18 years.
The association between adiposity and exposure to television advertising remains after taking alternative explanations into account, but the research does not convincingly rule out other possible explanations for the association; therefore, current evidence is not sufficient to arrive at any finding about a causal relationship from television advertising to adiposity. It is important to note that even a small influence, aggregated over the entire population of American children and youth, would be consequential in impact.
In addition to conducting a systematic evidence review of the research examining the relationships of marketing to the precursors of diet, to diet, and to diet-related health, the committee conducted a narrative review of this research and other relevant research in order to understand the role of