Marketing linked to fast food frequency

January 26, 2008

A U.S. study suggests marketing plays a role in how often parents buy fast food for their children.

A survey by Sonya Grier, a marketing professor at American University's Kogod School of Business, found that greater exposure to fast food advertising was linked to beliefs that eating fast food is a regular practice of family, friends and others in their communities. The more parents perceived fast food consumption as a socially normal behavior, the more frequently their children ate fast food.

The questionnaire was administered to parents of children ages 2 to 12 at eight community health centers on the United States' East Coast and in Puerto Rico, the university said Friday in a release.

Hispanics and African Americans reported being exposed to more fast-food marketing and having greater access to fast-food than whites. Hispanics also reported significantly more positive attitudes toward fast-food than did whites. Asian parents expressed the least normative views of fast food consumption, the report said.

The findings were published in the American Marketing Association's Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

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