Sunday, August 21, 2016

Children make poor dietary choices following unhealthy foods ads

Public Release: 5-Jul-2016
Children make poor dietary choices following unhealthy foods ads
Unhealthy foods account for greater than 80 percent of all televised food ads
McMaster University

Ads for unhealthy foods and beverages high in sugar or salt have an immediate and significant impact on children and lead to harmful diets, according to research from McMaster University.

The study, published today in the scientific journal Obesity Reviews, examined 29 trials assessing the effects of unhealthy food and beverage marketing and analyzing caloric intake and dietary preference among more than 6000 children. Researchers found that the marketing increased dietary intake and influenced dietary preference in children during or shortly after exposure to advertisements.

Lead author of the study, Behnam Sadeghirad, says that these findings demonstrate the influence that these advertisements, a growing epidemic, have on children's food choices.

"The rates of overweight and obesity among children are rising worldwide," said Sadeghirad, a PhD student in clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster.


When children were exposed to unhealthy advertisements, they consumed significantly more unhealthy than healthy calories, the study found. The findings also suggest that younger children (< 8 years of age) might be more susceptible to the impact of food and beverage marketing in terms of quantity and quality of calories consumed.


"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."

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