moderators in altering the marketing relationships. The committee found the literature too small altogether and too varied in topic to support any conclusions about the ways in which differences in age, gender, race/ ethnicity (including home language), and socioeconomic status may alter (moderate) the influence of marketing on these precursors. However, with respect to age, the committee found that:

  • Most children ages 8 years and under do not effectively comprehend the persuasive intent of marketing messages, and most children ages 4 years and under cannot consistently discriminate between television advertising and programming. The evidence is currently insufficient to determine whether or not this meaningfully alters the ways in which food and beverage marketing messages influence children.

Finally, both the systematic evidence review and the narrative review revealed areas in which new research is needed, as well as the characteristics of research that is most likely to be helpful to committees addressing charges such as ours. Specific recommendations for future research are offered in a preceding section. The committee’s overall finding is as follows:

  • New research is needed on food and beverage marketing and its impact on diet and diet-related health and on improving measurement strategies for factors involved centrally in this research. Much of this research must be interdisciplinary and fairly large-scale in nature, although some highly-focused small-scale research is also desirable. Among the specific research needed are studies of newer promotion techniques, newer venues, and healthier products and portion sizes.


*Andersen RE, Crespo CJ, Bartlett SJ, Cheskin LJ, Pratt M. 1998. Relationship of physical activity and television watching with body weight and level of fatness among children: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. J Am Med Assoc 279(12):938–942.

*Anderson DR, Huston AC, Schmitt KL, Linebarger DL, Wright JC. 2001. Early childhood television viewing and adolescent behavior: The recontact study. Mon Soc Res Child Dev 66(1):I–VIII, 1–147.

*Armstrong CA, Sallis JF, Alcaraz JE, Kolody B, McKenzie TL, Hovell MF. 1998. Children’s television viewing, body fat, and physical fitness. Am J Health Promot 12(6):363–368.

ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry). 2002. Analytical Methods. [Online]. Available at: [accessed October 14, 2005].

*These references are studies included in the systematic evidence review.

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