Marketing of food to children through food packaging is associated with unhealthy foods in brazil
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Center for Epidemiological Research in Nutrition and Health Brazil
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1144
Background and objective:
The exposure to the marketing of unhealthy foods is linked to growing overweight and obese in childhood. Persuasive marketing strategies influence children’s food intake, preferences, attitudes, and eating behavior. The present study aims to assess the relationship between presence of marketing to children through food packaging and the nutritional profile of the products.

The analysis was conducted with 7,726 products found in Brazilian retail from 2018 to 2021. Marketing strategies on packaging were collected by trained researchers. Elements such as: mascots, animated characters, fun activities, school, sports, athletes, gifts, energy, growth were used as indicators of marketing to children. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) nutrient profile model (free sugar, sodium, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat and non-nutritive sweeteners) with information from the nutritional composition table and ingredient list were used. The association between the presence of marketing to children and the nutritional profile was verified by logistic regression. Values of p<0.05 were considered significant. The analyses were performed in Stata 16.1.

A total of 2,613 (33.8%) products with marketing to children on the packaging were observed. Foods with marketing to children were 2.1 times more likely to have high free sugar than those without this type of marketing (p<0.001) and 1.4 times more likely to have high total fat and saturated fat (p<0.001). No statistically significant associations were observed between the presence of marketing to children and sodium, saturated fat, and non-nutritive sweeteners.

Foods with marketing to children found in Brazilian retailers in 2018 to 2021 are significantly more likely to have higher amounts of free sugar, total fat, and saturated fat than those not targeted to children.

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