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Twice as many adverts for unhealthy foods, cigarettes and alcohol in black and Latino magazines

BioMed Central

Magazines aimed at African-American and Hispanic women publish twice as many adverts for potentially health-damaging products, such as alcohol or junk food, as mainstream magazines aimed mainly at white women. Black and Latino magazines also publish four times fewer adverts for healthy products. A study published in the open access journal, BMC Public Health, shows that the content of advertisements in black or Latino magazines may contribute to the lower health status observed in African-American and Hispanic populations in the USA.

Lay magazines have been shown to be one of the key sources of health information for women. Susan Duerksen, Georgia Robins Sadler and colleagues, from the Rebecca and John Moores UCSD Cancer Center in San Diego, USA, tested whether the disparities in health status among different ethnic groups were reflected in the amount of health-related advertisement in lay magazines aimed at white, black or Latino women.

Duerksen et al. selected the four highest circulation general interest women's magazines in each of three categories - mainstream, African-American and Latino - and studied the content of adverts from all the issues published during three months over the summer 2002. Their results show that approximately half of all adverts in mainstream magazines were health-related adverts, more than double the proportion in the black and Hispanic magazines.


Health disparities and advertising content of women's magazines: a cross-sectional study
Susan C. Duerksen, Amy Mikail, Laura Tom, Annie Patton, Janina Lopez, Xavier Amador, Reynaldo Vargas, Maria Victorio, Brenda Kustin, Georgia Robins Sadler
BMC Public Health 2005, 5:85

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