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Marketing professor compiles research on childhood obesity and food marketing

by Susan Guibert, Notre Dame News and Information

June 26, 2008


Elizabeth Moore, associate professor of marketing at the University of Notre Dame, recently edited and compiled four studies examining the interface of food marketing, childhood obesity and public policy in the “Journal of Public Policy and Marketing,” published by the American Marketing Association.

“In the wake of new self-regulatory initiatives by the food industry, it is important that careful analysis of potential public policy issues be considered,” Moore said.

Each of the four articles addresses significant, substantive topics that have surfaced in the ongoing debate about food marketing to children. The articles are meant to inform public policy makers and stimulate further research on the role marketing plays in the growing problem of childhood obesity.  Contributors include marketing scholars, government officials, media experts, and academics in the fields of medicine and public health.

In a 2007 article based on research conducted by Moore on food advertising on the Internet titled “The Online Marketing of Food to Children: Is it Just Fun and Games?” Moore and co-author Victoria Rideout of the Kaiser Family Foundation explore the expanded reach advertisers to children now have with Web sites designed for children.  Advertiser-sponsored video games embed brand messages in fast-paced, animated adventures designed to promote food brands. The authors provide the first public policy examination of food marketers’ Web sites for children based on a content analysis.

Debra Desrochers, assistant professor of marketing at Notre Dame, examines television food advertising to children.  In her article “Children’s Exposure to Television Advertising: Implications for Childhood Obesity,” Desrochers and co-author Debra Holt of the Federal Trade Commission provide a comprehensive analysis of children’s television viewing habits. Drawing on a database provided by Nielsen Media Research
that includes advertising on all programs on cable and broadcast networks, the study offers a more systematic and complete analysis of children’s advertising exposure than previously was available.

Two other articles include “Creating an Environment in which Youths are Encouraged to Eat a Healthier Diet,” which offers a conceptual analysis of marketing’s role in childhood obesity and a discussion of steps food marketers could take to alleviate it, and “Fast-Food Marketing and Children’s Fast-Food Consumption: Exploring Parents’ Influence in an Ethnically Diverse Sample,” which examines how marketing to parents affects their children’s food intake.

Published every six months, the journal’s peer-reviewed articles help marketing professionals, academics and public policy makers stay abreast of the latest government regulations and legal standards regarding marketing practices.

A member of the Notre Dame faculty since 1999, Moore’s areas of expertise include marketing and society, marketing to children and intergenerational studies.

Contact: Elizabeth Moore, Mendoza College of Business,  574-631-6263 or Elizabeth.Moore.96@nd.edu

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