Socioeconomic differences in outdoor food advertising at public transit stops across Melbourne suburbs.
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To assess and compare the number and type of outdoor food advertisements at public transit stops within suburbs of varying levels of socioeconomic disadvantage.
An observational audit tool was developed and implemented to assess the number and type of food advertisements at public transit stops within Melbourne, Victoria. A total of 20 Melbourne neighbourhoods (suburbs) from across the least and the most socioeconomically disadvantaged areas were selected. All public transit stops, including train stations and bus and tram stops with a shelter were audited.
A similar proportion of transit stops in the least and most-disadvantaged suburbs displayed food advertisements (total n=203). However, some differences in the type of advertisements across suburbs were noted with advertisements for fast food restaurants, flavoured milk and fruit juice more common in the most-disadvantaged neighbourhoods (all p<0.05) and advertisements for diet soft drink, tea, coffee and convenience stores more common in the least-disadvantaged neighbourhoods (all p<0.05).
This exploration of outdoor food advertising at Melbourne transit stops found 30% displayed food advertisements, with those in more disadvantaged suburbs more frequently promoting chain-brand fast food and less frequently promoting diet varieties of soft drinks. These findings may help raise awareness of unhealthy environmental exposures.