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TV Advertising, Corporate Power, and Latino Health Disparities

      Introduction

      This study identifies mental health, tobacco prevention, alcohol/beer, food/beverage, pharmaceutical, and other health-related advertisements across Spanish- and English-language TV networks owned by the same parent media company in the U.S. as commercial determinants of health disparities for Latino populations and/or viewers of Spanish-language TV.

      Methods

      A 3-week composite sample of Telemundo and National Broadcasting Company prime-time TV owned by the same parent media company was randomly drawn from March 31, 2021 to June 12, 2021 in Houston, Texas. A total of 1,593 health-related advertisements were yielded for systematic content analysis. Analyses included intercoder reliability, descriptive and bivariate analysis, and rate ratio and rate difference calculations.

      Results

      Telemundo had significantly more health-adverse and fewer health-beneficial advertisements than National Broadcasting Company. Telemundo broadcasted about 11 more alcohol (95% CI=9.1, 12.5) and 5 more unhealthy/noncore food/beverages (95% CI=2.0, 7.2) advertisements per hour of TV advertisement programming than the National Broadcasting Company. Telemundo also broadcasted about 1 fewer mental health/tobacco prevention (95% CI= −0.9, −0.2), 3 fewer healthy/core food/beverages (95% CI= −1.5, −4.3), and 4 fewer pharmaceutical (95% CI= −2.4, −5.7) advertisements per hour of advertisement programming than the National Broadcasting Company.

      Conclusions

      Overall greater health-adverse and fewer health-beneficial advertisements are broadcasted on Spanish-language than on English-language TV. Unchecked corporate marketing strategies may serve as a commercial determinant of health disparities for Latino populations by Spanish-language TV.
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