Environmental changes have facilitated the rapid increase in childhood obesity. One such change is increased presence of food marketing which promotes intake of high-fat, energy-dense foods. This study tested the hypotheses that overweight (OW) children are more sensitive to the intake-enhancing effects of food branding than non-OW children, and that the relationship between weight status and intake of branded foods is mediated by level of food brand awareness. Forty-three non-OW (n = 23) and OW (n = 20) children from diverse ethnic backgrounds participated in four dinnertime visits to test their intake of meals where food brands were present ("branded") or absent ("unbranded"). Food brand awareness was assessed by testing children's abilities to match food brand logos with correct foods and name specific brands from recall. Weight and height were measured on the first visit to determine BMI z-score and weight status. OW children consumed significantly more energy per meal than non-OW. Child age and brand awareness were positively associated. OW children consumed an additional 40 kcal in branded vs. unbranded meals whereas non-OW children consumed 45 kcal less in branded meals. Overweight children showed greater responsiveness to food branding, and they may be at risk in environments that are highly inundated with messages about food.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Nutrition and Dietetics