UCL Health


The impact on dietary outcomes of celebrities and influencers

This project will examine the impact on dietary outcomes of celebrities and influencers in marketing unhealthy foods to children: A systematic review and meta‐analysis

30 November 2021


The need for enhanced regulations of commercial marketing is at the top of the global health and policy agenda, as highlighted in a recent WHO–UNICEF–Lancet child health Commission.

This follows on from the 2010 WHO recommendations, for policies to limit the effectiveness of HFSS food marketing to children by limiting the exposure and power (the creative content, design and execution of the marketing message/ impacted by techniques used).

In the accompanying WHO implementation guidance, restricting the use of celebrities in HFSS product marketing was used as a specific example to reduce power.


The primary aim of this review was to review the literature and quantify the impact of celebrities in HFSS marketing on children’s dietary outcomes. 


We searched eight databases and included studies from all countries and languages published since 2009. Participants were defined as under 16 years, exposure was marketing for HFSS products with a celebrity and the outcomes were dietary preference, purchasing behaviours and consumption of HFSS products. We were able to conduct a meta-analysis for consumption outcomes. 


  • December 2021 


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The NIHR Policy Research Unit in Healthy Weight is part of the NIHR and hosted by UCL.