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Density of outdoor food and beverage advertising around schools in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Manila (The Philippines) and implications for policy

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Children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing is recognised by leading international health organisations as a probable causal factor for obesity. Outdoor advertising near schools embeds commercial food messages into children’s everyday lives and acts as a cue for food purchases. This project aimed to describe food advertising in the area around schools in two demographically and culturally disparate cities in the Asia Pacific Region. Data on outdoor food advertising were collected from the area within 500 m of 30 primary schools in each of two cities: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia and Manila, The Philippines. For each food advertisement, information was collected on: distance from the school (within 250 or 500 m); size, setting, type and position of the advertisement; and the food/drink product type promoted (core/healthy, non-core/unhealthy and miscellaneous). Density of advertisements was calculated per 100 m2. The density of food advertising was twice as high in the area closest to schools compared to the area further from schools (.9 vs. .5 in Ulaanbaatar and 6.5 vs. 3.3 advertisements per 100 m2 in Manila). Almost all food advertisements were for non-core/unhealthy foods/drinks (92% in Ulaanbaatar and 85% in Manila), and soft drinks were most frequently promoted. Children in Ulaanbaatar and Manila are exposed to large numbers of advertisements for unhealthy foods/drinks on their way to and from school, and these are particularly clustered within the immediate vicinity of schools. Clear directions for policy development are outlined to reduce children’s exposure to this marketing, including restricting the placement and content of outdoor advertising.
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Keywords: advertising; beverage; children; food; marketing; school

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Early Start Research Institute, School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia 2: Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia 3: Nutrition Research Department, National Center for Public Health, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 4: Ministry of Health, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 5: Institute of Community and Family Health Inc., Quezon City, The Philippines 6: Dr. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center, Quezon City, The Philippines 7: Activeone Health Inc, Manila, The Philippines 8: Independent Research Assistant, Manila, The Philippines 9: Independent Advertising Consultant, Manila, The Philippines 10: World Health Organization Representative Office in the Philippines, Manila, The Philippines 11: World Health Organization Representative Office in Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia 12: Noncommunicable Diseases and Health Promotion, World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific, Manila, The Philippines

Publication date: May 27, 2015

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