Television programs are interspersed with advertisements that promote various products and services to maximize profitability. However, these advertisements do not always promote healthy lifestyles, especially during peak viewing times. This study examines the influence of commercials on food consumption during a Sunday night football game and peak hours of HGTV. The analysis reveals that sporting events primarily promote food options, while HGTV focuses more on products and services. Sporting events tend to influence viewers to consume unhealthy foods advertised during these events, while HGTV viewers are less likely to consume unhealthy foods during popular programs.
BIOL 2320C Week 3 Nutritional Science Introduction
During a typical Sunday night football game, it is common for people to gather with family and friends, bringing food and beverages to snack on. Commercials aired during the game heavily influence the food choices for the next game day. These commercials often showcase gameday parties where people consume unhealthy food items and their “favorite” beer.
On the other hand, while watching non-sporting channels like HGTV, there are fewer advertisements for food options. This raises the question of whether we are conditioned to consume chips, burgers, and wings primarily during sporting events as opposed to HGTV. Unhealthy food advertisements during sporting events have a significant impact on our food behaviors during screen time.
Methods and Materials
To test this theory, I observed a three-hour Sunday night football game and three hours of programming on HGTV on separate days. I counted the number of commercials aired and categorized them into food-related and product/service-related ads. Specifically, I noted advertisements promoting burgers, pizza, chicken wings, chips and nachos, beer, and healthy food options. This data was used to compare the differences in ad promotions between American football games and HGTV shows.
During the Sunday night football game, a total of 106 commercials were aired. Out of these, 74 promoted food products or restaurants, while 34 promoted other items and services. The food-related ads consisted of 12 burgers, 14 pizzas, 13 chicken wings, 9 chips/nachos, 16 beers, and 10 healthy food commercials.
BIOL 2320C Week 3 Nutritional Science
The majority of commercials during sporting events were focused on promoting unhealthy food options rather than other products and services. Consequently, viewers are more likely to be influenced to choose food options over other products and services. Exposure to these advertisements increases the inclination to consume foods high in fat, sodium, and sugar, leading to obesity.
In comparison, HGTV aired a total of 87 commercials during three hours of top-rated television shows. Out of these, 27 were related to food, while 60 were related to products and services. The food-related commercials included 7 burgers, 2 pizzas, 3 chicken wings, 2 chips/nachos, 4 beers, and 9 healthy options.
BIOL 2320C Week 3 Nutritional Science
Although HGTV also promoted unhealthy food options, the focus was primarily on promoting other products and services. This indicates that HGTV profits more from advertising products and services than food options. As a result, viewers are more likely to be influenced to pursue products and services rather than unhealthy food options.
Results and Conclusions
Based on the data, it can be inferred that the type of entertainment chosen significantly influences our food consumption patterns. While both Sunday night football and HGTV feature advertisements for unhealthy food options, sporting events prioritize these options to a greater extent. Consequently, viewers of sporting events are more likely to consume foods and beverages high in sugar, sodium, and fat.
Additionally, exposure to alcohol advertisements during these events can lead to various health problems, such as heart disease and high blood pressure. In contrast, HGTV viewers are exposed to a higher number of product and service-related commercials and fewer unhealthy food options. Therefore, they are less likely to fill their plates with burgers, chips, and beer while watching the shows.
CDC. (2021, December 29). CDC – Fact Sheets-Alcohol Use And Health – Alcohol. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention; CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/alcohol- use.htm
Thompson, J., & Manore, M. (2016). Nutrition for life. Pearson Education, Inc.