The aim of this study was to assess the content and extent of food references and marketing within popular children’s magazines in Australia. Sixteen popular Australian children’s magazines were selected, as determined by readership and circulation data. Back copies of each magazine were purchased for publications released between January and December 2006 (n ¼ 76). Each magazine was assessed for food references on the basis of 23 food categories and 7 food-referencing types and as
either branded or non-branded food references. There were a high number of overall food references within the children’s magazines, with the majority of these being for unhealthy food products (63.7% unhealthy versus 36.3% healthy foods, p , 0.001). The food groups with the highest proportion of branded food references, and therefore paid marketing, were ice cream and iced confection (85.6% branded references), fast food restaurant meals (83.4%), high-sugar drinks (78.9%) and snack foods (73.4%). Of all magazines, those targeting males and children aged 7–12 years had the highest proportion of unhealthy food references (78.1 and 69.8% unhealthy food references, respectively). Food references within children’s magazines are common and skewed towards unhealthy foods. Children’s high magazine readership rates and a lack of advertising and product placement regulations for magazines in Australia make this media an attractive target for food marketers. The timely establishment of food marketing regulations within magazines are recommended to prevent further expansion of food marketing in this area.