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Test commercials affect children's eating habits
Children watch up to 40,000 commercials a year while watching TV. Many of them advertise - often unhealthy - food. According to US researchers, advertising influences children's decisions and could lead to large amounts being consumed.
Advertising could tempt large quantities to be consumed
Children watch an average of between 20,000 and 40,000 commercials per year while watching TV. About half of all advertising films relate to soft drinks, sweets and savory biscuits, as the German Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) found in an investigation years ago. According to the experts, the impact of TV advertising on children is enormous.
This is also shown by a recent study by American scientists. They found that commercials can influence children's decisions and lead them to consume large quantities.
Food selection is based more on taste
The professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) reports on its website "kinderaerzte-im-netz.de" about a new study, which showed that children according to TV spots tended to make an impulsive choice of food, which was more based on taste than on health-oriented. The team of scientists led by Prof. Dr. Amanda S. Bruce of the University of Kansas recently published his findings in the Journal of Pediatrics.
Brain reward system is activated
The researchers investigated whether commercials can change eating habits and brain activity while eating. The study asked 23 children aged eight to 14 years to judge 60 foods based on taste and health, once after seeing commercials with and without food.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to examine children's brain activity as they selected foods. It turned out that the film sequences with food products primarily activated the reward system in the brain.
Influencing taste preferences
In addition, the commercials influenced the children's taste preferences. According to the researchers, the taste of food for the little ones became more important after they saw food advertisements. According to a report on the internet portal "medicalnewstoday", the study authors say that it will "make it even more difficult to encourage children to eat healthily".
Children's foods are often unhealthy
Most so-called "children's foods" are much too fat and too sweet anyway with their high fat, sugar or salt content. According to the scientists, the advertising clips had a major impact on the brain's reward centers, especially when the children were hungry.
An older study showed that body weight also plays a role in the impact of advertising. Austrian researchers found in a study that overweight children are more susceptible to advertising. (ad)