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Public Health Nutr. 2009 Jan;12(1):105-10. doi: 10.1017/S1368980008002012. Epub 2008 Mar 14.

Association between commercial television exposure and fast-food consumption among adults.

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Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer, The Cancer Council Victoria, 1 Rathdowne Street, Carlton, Victoria 3053, Australia.



To examine the association between television advertising exposure and adults' consumption of fast foods.


Cross-sectional telephone survey. Questions included measures of frequency of fast-food consumption at different meal times and average daily hours spent watching commercial television.


Subjects comprised 1495 adults (41 % response rate) aged >or=18 years from Victoria, Australia.


Twenty-three per cent of respondents usually ate fast food for dinner at least once weekly, while 17 % consumed fast food for lunch on a weekly basis. The majority of respondents reported never eating fast food for breakfast (73 %) or snacks (65 %). Forty-one per cent of respondents estimated watching commercial television for <or=1 h/d (low viewers); 29 % watched for 2 h/d (moderate viewers); 30 % watched for >or=3 h/d (high viewers). After adjusting for demographic variables, high viewers were more likely to eat fast food for dinner at least once weekly compared with low viewers (OR = 1.45; 95 % CI 1.04, 2.03). Both moderate viewers (OR = 1.53; 95 % CI 1.01, 2.31) and high viewers (OR = 1.81; 95 % CI 1.20, 2.72) were more likely to eat fast food for snacks at least once weekly compared with low viewers. Commercial television viewing was not significantly related (P > 0.05) to fast-food consumption at breakfast or lunch.


The results of the present study provide evidence to suggest that cumulative exposure to television food advertising is linked to adults' fast-food consumption. Additional research that systematically assesses adults' behavioural responses to fast-food advertisements is needed to gain a greater understanding of the mechanisms driving this association.

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