TV Food Ads Make Kids Eat 84% More Food?

Obese children boost their food intake by 134% after watching food advertisements on television, according to a study by researchers at University of Liverpool.

60 children ages nine to eleven, of various weights, were shown a series of both food tv ads and toy ads, followed by a cartoon. Their food intake after the food adverts was meaningfully higher compared to after the toy adverts. This was seen in all weight groups, with the obese children increasing their consumption by 134%; overweight children by 101% and normal weight children by 84%.

Chocoholics

The obese weight group unfailingly chose the highest fat product – chocolate – whereas the overweight children chose to consume jelly sweets which have a lower fat content, as well as chocolate. It is not clear what effect fats have on obesity, and the conclusion of the researchers that the ads caused the kids to eat specific foods is not particularly logical.

It seems to me the real message of this study to parents should be that kids shouldnt have ready access to high fat, high carb foods while watching television.

According to one recent public opinion survey, 85% of US adults believe obesity has become an epidemic. This is good news in that parents are probably becoming more aware of the problem, but the bad news is they are right. And it’s not just children. US adults ate about 300 more calories per day in 2002 than they did in 1985.

No Fall in Obesity Rates

In Mississippi, 30.6% of adults are classified as obese in the recent report “F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2007 report from the Trust for Americas Health (TFAH)“.

The report reveals the sobering statistic that not one single state was able to report a fall in obesity rates for the year 2006, and twenty two states experienced a second consecutive year increase.

Definition

Obesity can be defined in absolute or relative terms. In practical settings, obesity is typically evaluated in absolute terms by measuring BMI (body mass index), but also in terms of its distribution through waist circumference or waist-hip circumference ratio measurements. In addition, the presence of obesity needs to be regarded in the context of other risk factors and comorbidities (other medical conditions that could influence risk of complications).