Food and Beverage Product Appearances in Educational, Child-Targeted YouTube Videos

Krystle A. Tsai, Pamela Pan, Cheryl Liang, Anastassia Stent-Torriani, Lulu Prat, Omni Cassidy, Jennifer L. Pomeranz, Marie A. Bragg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Food advertisement exposure is associated with children's increased caloric intake, but little is known about food/beverage placements in child-oriented educational YouTube videos. We aimed to quantify the prevalence of food/beverages in these videos and assess their nutritional quality. Methods: Researchers identified child-oriented educational YouTube videos from 2020, using keyword searches. We coded the names of featured food/beverages, coded how the food/beverages were interacted with, quantified the number of minutes the food/beverages appeared, and assessed the nutritional quality of the food/beverages. Results: A sample of 400 videos with the highest number of views was identified, 165 of which featured food/beverages. These 165 videos were collectively viewed over 1.1 billion times. Among these videos, 108 (67.4%) featured unhealthy foods and 86 (52.1%) featured branded products. Most food/beverages were used in experiment/tutorials (n = 143, 86.7%). Of the 165 videos featuring food/beverages, 91 (55.2%) did not depict food/beverages in their video thumbnail. Conclusions: While unhealthy food/beverages appear frequently in child-oriented educational YouTube videos, parents and teachers may not be aware of the presence of branded food/beverage products in these videos that could influence their children's food and brand preferences. The Federal Trade Commission should collect data on food and beverage company sponsorship of educational videos aimed at children and adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-522
Number of pages8
JournalChildhood Obesity
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • adolescents
  • children
  • food marketing
  • nutrition
  • obesity
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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