Does Children's Screen Time Predict Requests for Advertised Products? Cross-Sectional and Prospective Analyses

Objective: To examine children's screen media exposure and requests for advertised toys and food/drinks.

Design: Prospective cohort study.

Setting: Twelve elementary schools in northern California.

Participants: Eight hundred twenty-seven third grade children participated at baseline; 386 students in 6 schools were followed up for 20 months.

Intervention: None.

Main Outcome Measures: Child self-reported requests for advertised toys and foods/drinks.

ResultsAt baseline, children's screen media time was significantly associated with concurrent requests for advertised toys (Spearman r = 0.15 [TV viewing] and r = 0.20 [total screen time]; both P<.001 and="" foods="" r="0.16" viewing="" screen="" time="" both="" p="" in="" prospective="" analysis="" children="" media="" at="" baseline="" was="" significantly="" associated="" with="" their="" mean="" number="" of="" toy="" requests="" to="" months="" later="" after="" adjusting="" for="" sociodemographic="" variables="" the="" relationship="" between="" exposure="" future="" advertised="" remained="" significant="" total="" tv="" exposure.="" toys="">

Conclusions: Screen media exposure is a prospective risk factor for children's requests for advertised products. Future experimental studies on children's health- and consumer-related outcomes are warranted.