Navigation Links
Study: Quebec ban on fast-food ads reduced consumption of junk food
Date:1/19/2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. With mounting concerns over childhood obesity and its associated health risks in the U.S., would a ban on junk-food advertising aimed at children be more effective than the current voluntary, industry-led ban? According to published research from a University of Illinois economist, advertising bans do work, but an outright ban covering the entire U.S. media market would be the most effective policy tool for reducing fast-food consumption in children.

Kathy Baylis, a professor of agricultural and consumer economics, studied the ban on junk-food advertising imposed in the Canadian province of Quebec from 1984 to 1992 and its effect on fast-food purchases.

By comparing English-speaking households, who were less likely to be affected by the ban, to French-speaking households, Baylis and co-author Tirtha Dhar, of the University of British Columbia, found evidence that the ban reduced fast-food expenditures by 13 percent per week in French-speaking households, leading to between 11 million and 22 million fewer fast-food meals eaten per year, or 2.2 billion to 4.4 billion fewer calories consumed by children.

"Given the nature of Quebec's media market and demographics, a ban would disproportionately affect French-speaking households, but would not affect similar households in Ontario or households without children in either province," Baylis said.

Baylis says the study is applicable to the U.S., although the results wouldn't be quite as robust if bans were instituted state by state.

"What we found is that advertising bans are most effective when children live in an isolated media market, and it's only because they're in an isolated media market that they're getting these effects," she said. "If any state on their own decided to do this, it would be problematic. If the U.S. as a whole decided to do it, our research indicates that such a ban could be successful. The comparison is a strongly regulated system in Quebec to a less strongly regulated system in Ontario, and we still found an effect. If anything, our study is finding a lower-bound of that effect." The big caveat to the study, according to Baylis, is that it's based on data from the 1980s and '90s.

"Obviously, the Internet has exploded since then, and computer games have also risen in popularity," she said. "So we don't know how well a television ban would work when children are spending an increasing amount of time online rather than watching TV. So it would be very hard to enforce an Internet ban, and the only way to tackle it would be how they're doing it in Quebec, which is to prohibit advertising websites for junk food during cartoons, or even on product packaging in stores. But if a 10-year-old is searching for 'Lucky Charms' on the Internet, that would be hard to police on its own."

Baylis says one policy tool that's being revisited in the U.S. is the voluntary agreement that some prominent food companies have signed to limit advertising to kids.

"There's been a lot of concern that this voluntary agreement isn't working," she said. "The FCC has considered stepping in and doing more formal regulation. Our research indicates that this might be the way to go. The folks on the other side of the debate are always saying: 'Don't go down that road. It's a dead-end. Absolute bans don't work and a voluntary approach to self-regulation is better.' Well, that's not true, and this research is more ammunition for the FCC."

Although the advertising lobby would like to deny that advertising to kids works, Baylis notes that about $11 billion per year is spent on advertising aimed at that audience.

"Fast food is one of the most highly advertised product categories, but what's interesting is the amount of discussion around having tighter regulations on advertising directed at children, or when countries look to impose a junk-food advertising ban," Baylis said.

"The advertising lobby is very fond of saying bans don't work, that regulations don't work. There's been a huge policy debate as to whether advertising bans work, and that's why we decided to study the Quebec example, because it was brought up a lot by advertisers as proving their point. And what we discovered is, if you're just averaging overall kids, if you don't control for anything, you're just throwing in enough noise so that it's not statistically significant. When we started controlling for things, we realized that there was something else going on."


'/>"/>
Contact: Phil Ciciora
pciciora@illinois.edu
217-333-2177
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Study: urban black bears live fast, die young
2. Study: Bird diversity lessens human exposure to West Nile Virus
3. Study: Tropical wetlands hold more carbon than temperate marshes
4. Study: Wildlife need more complex travel plans
5. Study: Elderly Women can increase strength but still risk falls
6. UNC study: Text messaging may help children fight off obesity
7. Study: Did early climate impact divert a new glacial age?
8. Study: Excessive use of antiviral drugs could aid deadly flu
9. UNC study: Tinkering with the circadian clock can suppress cancer growth
10. Study: Fluid buildup in lungs is part of the damage done by the flu
11. Study: Health undervalued in reproductive rights debate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Study: Quebec ban on fast-food ads reduced consumption of junk food
(Date:3/11/2016)... India , March 11, 2016 ... a new market research report "Image Recognition Market by ... Application (Marketing and Advertising), by Deployment Type (On-Premises and ... Forecast To 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the global market ... 2015 to USD 29.98 Billion by 2020, at a ...
(Date:3/9/2016)... March 9, 2016 This BCC Research report ... of the RNA Sequencing (RNA Seq) market for the ... instruments, tools and reagents, data analysis, and services. ... of the RNA-Sequencing market such as RNA-Sequencing tools and ... main factors affecting each segment and forecast their market ...
(Date:3/8/2016)... , March 8, 2016   Valencell ... technology, today announced it has secured $11M in ... GII Tech, a new venture fund being launched ... additional participation from existing investors TDF Ventures and ... funds to continue its triple-digit growth and accelerate ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/19/2016)... , May 19, 2016  AdvancedFlow Systems Inc. ... (AGI), based out of Maple Ridge, ... Ltd. to its existing portfolio of contract manufacturing ... AFS along with its sister companies Surround Technologies ... vertically integrated industrial group that specializes in providing ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... Kansas City, KS (PRWEB) , ... May 19, ... ... and biomarker contract research organization (CRO) has welcomed Abu Siddiqui as Director, Large ... designing, managing and executing biologics, vaccine and translational biomarker discovery studies for preclinical ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... -- - I dati saranno presentati nel ... ° Congresso della Società Americana ... - Le conclusioni dello studio indicano un tasso di risposta ... il 90% presenta una d urata della risposta (Duration ... per cento dei pazienti ha riscontrato un beneficio clinico. ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... ... May 18, 2016 , ... ... Camp at The University of Toledo. This two-day camp will take place annually ... explore the field of pharmaceutical sciences in preparation for a university academic program. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: