Research has explored the link between exposure to marketing of foods high in energy and low in nutrients, and obesity in Western countries. The prevalence of obesity in Arab Gulf countries is similar to that of Western countries, yet the influence of advertising and frequency of exposure to advertising of foods on subsequent food choices and health is largely unexplored. This project sought to examine the number and quality of foods advertised on television during Ramadan in Arab Gulf countries. Television programming (36 h total), 12 h each for three stations, Alwatan, Dubai and MBC, was recorded. Food and restaurant advertisements (ads) were classified, totaled and analysed for dietary healthfulness using the Model SSCg3d. Of the total ads aired (n = 1473), food and restaurant ads were the most common (20.4%). The ad type and frequency varied among channels with restaurant ads most common on Alwatan, drinks and soda ads on Dubai, and sweet snacks and desserts ads on MBC (p < 0.001). Channels also differed regarding the frequency of dairy food ads (p < 0.001). Most food ads promoted less healthy foods similar to marketing practices in other countries with high rates of obesity. Many ads promoted foods high in energy, saturated fat, sodium and added sugar. This work signals the need to further understand the relationship between advertising of nutrient-poor foods, food behaviours and obesity in Arab Gulf countries and how advertising regulations may address this public health issue.

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