Understanding the policy and public debate surrounding the regulation of online advertising of high in fat, sugar and salt food and beverages to children

White, Lauren Elsie (2020) Understanding the policy and public debate surrounding the regulation of online advertising of high in fat, sugar and salt food and beverages to children. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Introduction:
In the United Kingdom (UK) increasing childhood obesity rates may be indicative of a lack of regulation of corporate influences that contribute to an obesogenic environment. A key feature in the policy debate surrounding childhood obesity is the role that online advertising of high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) food and beverages may play. Minimal research has been conducted in the UK seeking to understand stakeholders’ views of regulating this online environment.

Methods:
Focus groups with parents, secondary analysis of focus groups with children, consultation response analysis and professional stakeholder interviews were conducted. Thematic analysis was employed to analyse the focus groups and interview data, and frame analysis was employed to analyse the consultation.

Findings:
Parents and children reported finding it increasingly difficult to attain a healthy diet, with online advertising of HFSS products appearing to be an ‘external intruder’ within the home environment. Findings were underpinned by participants’ concerns on the power dynamics related to the regulation of online HFSS product advertising. Both industry power and State power were positioned as problematic, with regulation (or the lack of) considered an appropriate tool to address problematic power dynamics. Participants’ concerns aligned with social justice and market justice values.

Discussion and conclusion:
Participants’ views indicate a complex debate surrounding the regulation of online advertising of HFSS products. Although tension existed between participants’ acceptability of improved regulation of online advertising as an appropriate policy response to the extensive advertising of HFSS products, there appeared to be a desire for a re-negotiation of the power dynamics within the obesogenic environment to increase parents’ and children’s ability to attain a healthy diet. Statutory regulation, framed as an empowering public health policy rather than restrictive, may be one way to address the concerns described by the participants.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: food, children, advertising, policy, regulation.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Hilton, Professor Shona and Chambers, Dr. Stephanie and Skivington, Dr. Kathryn
Date of Award: 2020
Depositing User: Lauren Elsie White
Unique ID: glathesis:2020-81381
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 26 May 2020 17:13
Last Modified: 26 May 2020 17:24
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/81381

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