Publication Details

Norman, J., Kelly, B., Boyland, E. & McMahon, A. (2016). The impact of marketing and advertising on food behaviours: Evaluating the evidence for a causal relationship. Current Nutrition Reports, 5 (3), 139-149.


The prevention of overweight in childhood is paramount to long-term heart health. Food marketing predominately promotes unhealthy products which, if over-consumed, will lead to overweight. International health expert calls for further restriction of children¿s exposure to food marketing remain relatively unheeded, with a lack of evidence showing a causal link between food marketing and children¿s dietary behaviours and obesity an oft-cited reason for this policy inertia. This direct link is difficult to measure and quantify with a multiplicity of determinants contributing to dietary intake and the development of overweight. The Bradford Hill Criteria provide a credible framework by which epidemiological studies may be examined to consider whether a causal interpretation of an observed association is valid. This paper draws upon current evidence that examines the relationship between food marketing, across a range of different media, and children¿s food behaviours, and appraises these studies against Bradford Hill¿s causality framework.



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