Advertising of food to children: is brand logo recognition related to their food knowledge, eating behaviours and food preferences?

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BACKGROUND: There remains controversy about the contribution of food advertising targeted at children to the epidemic of childhood obesity in the UK. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between the ability to recognize brand logos featured in promotional campaigns of the food industry and eating behaviours, food knowledge and preferences in children aged 9-11 attending six primary schools in Birmingham, West Midlands. METHODS: A '20 flashcard' brand logo quiz assessed children's brand logo recognition ability; a self-completed questionnaire collected information on children's socio-demographic characteristics, eating behaviours, food knowledge and preferences (n=476). RESULTS: Children demonstrated both high brand logo recognition abilities with 88.4% (420/476) recognizing at least 16/20 brand logos in the quiz and high levels of poor diet. No strong correlation was found between higher brand logo recognition ability and poorer eating behaviours, food knowledge and preferences. CONCLUSION: Although many children are familiar with commonly presented logos of food products, brand awareness does not appear to be a major influence on the consumption of a poor diet amongst children. The regulation or restriction of food advertising to children is unlikely to have a significant impact on obesity rates among children unless combined with measures to address other detrimental influences.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)358-367
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Public Health Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2007


  • food preference, diet, obesity, advertising, children