Socio-economic patterning of food and drink advertising at public transport stops in Edinburgh, UK

Tony Robertson*, Ruth Jepson, Kyle Lambe, Jonathan R Olsen, Lukar E Thornton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Outdoor advertisements for food and drink products form a large part of the food environment and they disproportionately promote unhealthy products. However, less is known about the social patterning of such advertisements. The main aim of this study was to explore the socio-economic patterning of food and drink advertising at bus stops in Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh.
Design: Bus stop advertisements were audited to identify food/drink adverts and classify them by food/drink category (i.e. ‘advert category’). This data were then linked to area-based deprivation and proximity measures. Neighbourhood deprivation was measured using the bus stop x/y co-ordinates, which were converted to postcodes to identify the matching 2012 deprivation level via the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation. Distance to schools and leisure centres were also collected using location data. Generalised estimating equations and linear regression analyses were used to assess associations between the promotion of advert categories and deprivation and proximity to schools/leisure centres, respectively.
Setting: Edinburgh city, United Kingdom.
Results: 561 food/drink advertisements were identified across 349 bus stops, with 8 advertisement categories noted and included in the final analysis, including alcohol, fast food outlets and confectionary. The majority of adverts were for ‘unhealthy’ food and drink categories, however there was no evidence for any socio-economic patterning of these advertisements. There was no evidence of a relationship between advertisements and proximity to schools and leisure centres.
Conclusions: While there is no evidence for food and drink advertising being patterned by neighbourhood deprivation, the scale of unhealthy advertising is an area for policy evaluations and interventions on the control of such outdoor advertising.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Early online date10 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • advertising
  • marketing
  • unhealthy commodities
  • inequalities
  • deprivation
  • spatial

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