The recent review based on 29 studies involving over 6,000 children concluded that children are, in fact, heavily influenced by the TV ads they see on fast food and junk food.
The research uncovered that children are more likely to eat unhealthy foods after they’ve seen a related TV ad. Those under the age of eight are the most prone to junk food marketing.
“This [review] shows that the extensive exposure kids have to marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages via product packaging (superheroes, logos), TV, and the internet increases their short-term caloric intake and preference for junk food,” – Behnam Sadeghirad, a doctoral student at McMaster University, Canada, said in a university news release.
Recent research revealed that children view on average five food ads per hour in the United States and Canada. Over 80 percent of those ads are for unhealthy foods.
Corresponding author Bradley Johnston added, “Overall, our analyses show the need for a review of public policy on child-targeted unhealthy food and beverage marketing. The increasing prevalence of obesity seems to further coincide with marked increases in the food and beverage industry’s budget for marketing aimed at children and youth, with data showing that energy-dense, low-nutrient foods and beverages make up the majority of commercially marketed products.”
Next time your child asks, whines, or sobs for unhealthy foods, you may want to consider how much television they are watching and how susceptible their young minds are to the influence of these commercials. With small introductions to the healthy and fun alternatives, they may gradually begin to see that healthy food can be just as fun as all that junk.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article: Eating fast food exposes you to harmful chemicals.