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Exploring the link between obesity and advertising in New Zealand

Kitchen, Philip J.; Eagle, Lynne; Bulmer, Sandy; De Bruin, Anne

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Philip J. Kitchen

Lynne Eagle

Sandy Bulmer

Anne De Bruin


This paper reviews the debate on the causes and potential solutions to growing obesity and whether there is a proven correlation with advertising, particularly among children. The paper first considers this debate from the context of the burgeoning literature on this topic. The findings from an empirical study with parents of primary-age children in New Zealand are then presented. However, any kind of proposed relationship between obesity and advertising tends to be as much emotive as evidential, with for-and-against camps lined up to defend entrenched positions. However, it does seem fair to argue that, while advertising does present a problem in relation to food selection choice, many other issues, such as peer pressure, quality of life, in-school food services, nearby retail outlets and social class criteria, exacerbate the problem. Thus, easy solutions based on insufficient evidence that have failed to substantiate causal effects between advertising (ostensibly) directed at children and nutrition can be seen as inequitable and, thus, ineffective in their intended aims. Although here the paper considers the problem from a New Zealand perspective, the findings may have implications for research elsewhere in the world.


Kitchen, P. J., Eagle, L., Bulmer, S., & De Bruin, A. (2004). Exploring the link between obesity and advertising in New Zealand. Journal of Marketing Communications, 10(1), 49-67.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Mar 1, 2004
Publicly Available Date Jun 9, 2019
Journal Journal of Marketing Communications
Print ISSN 1352-7266
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Issue 1
Pages 49-67
Keywords advertising, obesity, New Zealand
Public URL
Publisher URL


jmc_-Exploring_the_link.doc (203 Kb)

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