Analysis of Food and Beverage Marketing in the Public School Setting
Agriculture, Nutrition, & Veterinary Science
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Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic among children in the U.S. Food and beverage marketing targeted to this age group has been identified as a potential contributor. The purpose of this honors thesis was to investigate the qualitative and quantitative characteristics of posted food and beverage marketing in elementary, middle, and high schools in the Washoe County School District. Site visits were conducted at 19 schools including 12 elementary, 4 middle, and 3 high schools in 2010. During these site visits, two investigators observed nine different areas of the school (office/entry, hallways, lockers, cafeteria/multipurpose room, library, vending machines, recreation areas, scoreboards, and fences/gates) and recorded key features of each posted food and beverage marketing piece including the size, location, sponsor/source, product and/or nutrient promoted, theme, and inclusion of celebrity endorsement. Descriptive statistics were then computed for the purpose of a) describing the extent to which food and beverage marketing was present and the nature of this marketing; b) examining the degree to which the marketing was consistent with the school wellness policy; and c) identifying patterns with regard to the product and the key message, use of celebrities, size, location, and sponsor. The results provide information about the foods/beverages marketed on school campuses.