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US: TV food ads increase kids snacking

TV food ads increase automatic snacking by children and adults, according to Rudd Center researchers.

They found that children aged 7-11 years who watched a cartoon with food commercials ate 45 percent more snack food than children who watched the same cartoon with non-food commercials.

In another experiment, the researchers  found that adults who saw unhealthy food ads on TV also ate significantly more than those who saw ads with a nutrition or healthy food message.

“This research shows a direct and powerful link between television food advertising and calories consumed by adults and children,” said [Rudd Center researcher] Dr. Jennifer Harris. “Food advertising triggers automatic eating, regardless of hunger, and is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic.¬† Reducing unhealthy food advertising to children is critical.”

The research is published in Health Psychology, July 2009

Read more: Rudd Center Health Digest, Aug 2009

Published on August 7, 2009 in International news