Assessing exposure to food and beverage advertisements surrounding schools in Vancouver, BC.

Affiliation

Food, Nutrition and Health, Faculty of Land & Food Systems, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4; Department of Biology, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Surrey, BC, Canada V3W 2M8. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Recent policy initiatives call for restricting food marketing to children, yet little is known about children's current exposure to outdoor advertisements. This paper describes the prevalence and characteristics of food- or beverage-related advertisements surrounding 25 public elementary and secondary schools in Vancouver, Canada and assesses whether the informational food environment differs by neighbourhood or school characteristics. All but four schools had at least one food- or beverage-related advertisement within 400 m (median: 18, range: 0-96) and approximately 90% of food or beverage advertisements were for items not recommended for frequent consumption by provincial school food guidelines. After controlling for commercial density, secondary schools were associated with more outdoor food and beverage advertisements overall in comparison with elementary schools. The presence of an additional limited-service food outlet within 400 m was associated with a 7% increase in the number of overall advertisements (p < 0.001) while an additional grocery store was associated with fewer advertisements (IRR: 0.69, p < 0.001), controlling for commercial density. Findings suggest the need to consider the informational food environment as part of broader assessments of the school and retail food environments.

Keywords

Advertising,Beverage,Food,Food advertising,Food environment,Schools,