Unhealthy food advertisements ("advertisements"hereafter referred to as "ads") are linked to poor diet and obesity, and food companies disproportionally target Black youth. Little is known about the mechanisms whereby food ads influence diet. One possibility may be racially-targeted ads that appeal to Black youth. Those with food-related attentional biases may be especially vulnerable. The objective of this project was to assess the feasibility and initial effects of a pilot study testing the influence of racially-targeted food ads and foodrelated attentional biases on eating behaviors among a sample of Black adolescent females. Feasibility of recruitment, retention, and procedures were examined. Participants (N = 41, 12-17y) were randomized to view a television episode clip of the Big Bang Theory embedded with either four 30-second racially-targeted food ads or neutral ads. A computer dot probe task assessed food-related attentional biases. The primary outcome was caloric consumption from a laboratory test meal. Interactions based on weight and ethnic identity were also examined. Analyses of variance and regressions were used to assess main and interaction effects. Exposure to racially-targeted food ads (versus neutral ads) did not affect energy consumption (p > .99). Although not statistically significant, adolescents with obesity consumed nearly 240 kcal more than non-overweight adolescents (p = 0.10). There were no significant preliminary effects related to food-related attentional biases or ethnic identity (ps = 0.22-0.79). Despite a non-significant interaction, these data provide preliminary support that adolescents with obesity may be particularly vulnerable to racially-targeted food ads. An adequately powered trial is necessary to further elucidate the associations among racially-targeted food ads among Black adolescent girls with obesity.
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