Associations between everyday exposure to food marketing and hunger and food craving in adults: An ecological momentary assessment study

Boyland, Emma ORCID: 0000-0001-8384-4994, Spanakis, Panagiotis, O'Reilly, Connor ORCID: 0000-0003-0526-4921 and Christiansen, Paul
(2024) Associations between everyday exposure to food marketing and hunger and food craving in adults: An ecological momentary assessment study. Appetite, 196. p. 107241.

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Food marketing in television and digital media negatively affects appetitive sensations and eating behaviour in children, but effects are less well understood for outdoor food advertising and adults. This research used Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to explore associations between exposures to food advertising in various contexts (television, digital, outdoors) and adults' hunger and craving for highly advertised food categories. Over one week, participants provided ratings of cravings for types of food (fast food, soft drinks, snacks/confectionery, other) and hunger on a smartphone app up to six times per day when they saw a food advertisement (reactive assessment) and at random intervals (random assessment). Fifty-four participants (70.4 % female; 21.24 ± 3.84 years) provided 1223 assessments (24.7 % reactive, 75.3 % random). Data were analysed in R using multilevel multivariable linear regression models. Participants reported feeling hungrier (X<sup>2</sup>(1) = 5.85, p = .016, ΔAIC = 3.9) and having stronger cravings (X<sup>2</sup>(1) = 20.64, p < .001, ΔAIC = 318.6) after seeing food advertisements vs. random assessments. This was driven by greater hunger following television advertising exposure vs. random assessments (β = 1.58, SE = 0.61, p = .010, 95 %CIs 0.38 to 2.78), food advertising via digital devices or outdoors was not associated with hunger. Participants experienced stronger craving after seeing a food advertisement on television (β = 0.52, SE = 0.19, p = .006, 95 %CIs 0.15 to 0.89), outdoors (β = 0.39, SE = 0.12, p < .001, 95 % CIs 0.16 to 0.62) and in digital media (β = 0.36, SE = 0.14, p = .012, 95 % CIs 0.08 to 0.64), vs. random assessments. Cravings were (largely) specific to the advertised food category. EMA can be effective for assessing food marketing associations in adults. The current study provides evidence that food marketing is associated with hunger and craving in adults, which may, with replication, have implications for public health policy.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans, Hunger, Marketing, Television, Food, Internet, Adult, Child, Female, Male, Snacks, Craving, Ecological Momentary Assessment
Divisions: Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences > Institute of Population Health
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2024 11:18
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2024 06:26
DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2024.107241
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