Exposure to high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) food imagery is associated with unhealthy consumption, and subsequently obesity, among young people. We report and compare the results of two content analyses, one of popular children’s television channels in the UK and the other of a selection of children’s programmes available on video-on-demand (VOD) services.
Content analysis of 3 days’ worth of programmes on two popular children’s television channels broadcast on UK television (CBeebies and Milkshake as well as a sample of children’s programmes available on the VOD platforms (Netflix and Amazon Prime) using 1-min interval coding.
In children’s television channels, HFSS content was seen in 181 episodes (36%) and in 417 intervals (13%) on terrestrial television, ‘Milkshake’ had a significantly higher proportion of broadcasts, which contained HFSS content than ‘CBeebies’. In VOD platforms, HFSS content was seen in 82 episodes (72% of the total number of episodes), across 459 intervals (19% of the total number of intervals), with no significant difference in the proportion of programmes containing HFSS content between Netflix and Amazon Prime.
HFSS content is common in both popular UK children’s television channels and children programmes on VOD services and is likely having an effect on HFSS consumption in children. Legislative opportunities to prevent this exposure are being missed.