Compliance of Advertisements for Children in Leading Parenting Magazines with American Academy of Pediatrics Recommendations over Five Years

Sunday, October 25, 2015: 10:30 AM
Independence Salon E (Marriott Marquis)
Jennifer Berger, DO1, Karen Sheehan, MD, MPH2 and Michael B. Pitt, MD1, (1)University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, (2)Ann & Robert H Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Background: Frequent exposure to health-related messages in advertisements can impact an individual’s health decisions. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) issues consensus statements on many issues facing children, several of which speak against products or actions often advertised in the media (i.e. infant walkers, unsafe sleep practices). Purpose: Determine the frequency of advertisements for children’s products which violate AAP recommendations in the top two parenting magazines, and compare these offenses over 5 years. Methods: All advertisements from the top two parenting magazines based on circulation were reviewed for 2009 and 2014. Ads for products intended for use by children were included. Any ad with images or products which went against an AAP recommendation (from AAP Policy Statements, Clinical Practice Guidelines, Where We Stand Statements and their textbook Injury Prevention and Control for Children and Youth were reviewed) was deemed a violation, and was categorized according to the statement it violated. Violation totals and types for each year were compared using Fischer’s exact tests. Results: 3,218 advertisements were reviewed (1,845 in 2009; 1,373 in 2014) of which 2,047 (63.6%) were for products for children. Of these, 337 (16.5%) contained one or more violations of AAP recommendations. Recommendation violation categories ranked by percent share of violations from most to least: non-FDA approved medical treatments, age-defined choking hazards, vitamins/supplements (excluding vitamin D), cold medicine, infant formula, nutrition (based on juice volume per serving), oral care, screen time, sleep safety, fall risk, unsafe toys, and water safety. There was no significant difference in the total percentage of violations between 2009 and 2014 (215 [17.7%] vs. 122 [14.6%]; p= 0.069), however several violation categories showed significant (P<0.05) decreases over the five years including nutrition, oral care, screen time, and sleep safety. Conclusion: Nearly 1 in 6 advertisements for children’s products in the top two parenting magazines contain images or products which violate AAP recommendations. Despite a difference in the share of several violation types, there was no significant change in the overall total number of violations over the 5 years. The significant decrease in the violation categories nutrition and oral care are likely due to liberalization of the AAP recommendations regarding juice intake and fluoride toothpaste use. However, the significant decrease in safe sleep violation and screen time categories is may reflect improved awareness of the importance of these topics via recent advocacy campaigns.

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