Research support

Social media food marketing and plant-based eating among adolescents

grant holder
Prof. Dr. Tim Smits
, KULeuven

Prof. Dr. Tim Smits

Food marketing has infiltrated our environments making unhealthy food the norm, contributing to the rise of an obesogenic environment that encourages excess energy intake, obesity and cardiovascular disease while challenging healthy eating and sustainable plantbased diets.

Adolescents are highly susceptible to food marketing’s influence and they are increasingly making choices independent from their parents and guardians at a time when their cognitive development is not matured, their impulsivity is at a high and their inhibitory control is less than that of an adult.

Food marketing is heavily targeting European adolescents’ media environment, specifically social media.  

This grant will investigate how media food marketing impacts adolescent health and sustainable plant-based eating habits

1. Measure the extent of social media food marketing and its relation with plant-based nutrition literacy, attitudes and behaviors among adolescents.

2. Assess the effect of social media food advertising and peer-to-peer messages on changes in plant-based eating attitudes and behaviors among adolescents.