Giese, H., König, L. M., Tăut, D., Ollila, H., Băban, A., Absetz, P., … Renner, B. (2015). Exploring the association between television advertising of healthy and unhealthy foods, selfcontrol, and food intake in three European countries. Applied Psychology: Health and Well-Being, 7 (1), 41-62
Background: Building upon previous results, the present study explored the relationship between exposure to unhealthy and healthy food TV commercials, trait self-control, and food intake.
Methods: In total, 825 Finns (53% female), 1,055 Germans (55% female), and 971 Romanians (55% female) aged 8-21 reported advertisement exposure, self-control, and food intake.
Results: Altogether, participants indicated higher exposure to unhealthy compared to healthy food advertisements (F(1, 2848) = 354.73, p < .001, partial η(2) = .111). Unhealthy food advertisement exposure was positively associated with unhealthy food intake (all β ≥ .16, p < .001). Healthy food advertisement exposure was positively associated with fruit and vegetable consumption (β = .10, p < .001). Self-control was associated with higher consumption of healthy (β ≥ .09, p < .001) and lower consumption of unhealthy foods (all β ≥ -.11, p < .001). Yet, findings of advertising and self-control were mainly independent (interactions: β ≤ |.07|, p ≥ .002).
Conclusion: Even though the results suggest that healthy advertisement exposure and self-control might be beneficial for children's and adolescents' diet, self-control might be insufficient to alleviate the positive relationship between unhealthy food advertising and unhealthy eating.