LMIC are increasingly affected by the obesity pandemic and, it is estimated that by year 2030, there will be 80 million people with diabetes in India. Of concern is the emerging threat of obesity and type 2 DM among children. In 2010, World Health Assembly recognized food marketing as a key determinant of childhood dietary patterns, yet few studies in India have assessed exposure to media as a key NCD risk behaviors among children. This qualitative study explores children’s dietary and media use patterns, and aims to identify the ways in which young children in Mumbai are exposed to food marketing. Interviews and focus groups were conducted in June 2017 with purposively sampled dyads that included children aged 7-12 years and their mothers (n=34) from low to middle-income communities in Mumbai. Analysis of data found that children frequently consume packaged food, and characterized it as their favorite type of food. Television proved to be an influential source of information for most children, with most watching between two and four hours during the weekdays. Children reported learning about new food products primarily from TV advertisements. Most children could acquire their favorite food, either by purchasing it themselves or by convincing family members. Use of other forms of media, such as computers, were less prevalent, but most children did report using a mobile phone, which most often belonged to a family member. Parents identified children’s preference for unhealthy food, cost, limited time as barriers to a healthy diet and reported conflicts with their children about food requests. Additionally, most parents confirmed that TV played a significant and negative role in these arguments. Changing food environments and replacement of traditional diets have been found to have deleterious consequences for children. Investing in understanding dietary behaviors and communication activities of young children in Mumbai will support the development of appropriate context-specific intervention strategies at this crucial age.


J. Nijjar: None. A.C. Revette: None.

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