Junk food advertisements not only cajole young adults into giving into temptation but they are also responsible for childhood obesity, according to a study published in the journal, Paediatrics. For the study, researchers looked at the lifestyle of children aged between 6 and 13 years. The research was headed by Emma Boyland at the Liverpool University, United Kingdom.
During the study it was discovered that junk food advertisements on the television trigger craving in children. Children who were tested were shown a compilation of junk food ads for some time. After the interval, moist children reported that they wanted to eat high fat, high-carb or sweet food. Their junk food craving was comparatively less on days when they were shown toy commercials for an extended period of time.
The researchers however, are of the opinion that junk food craving due to advertisements is also directly linked of the number of hours children spend watching television. Advertisements adversely affect those children who spend an average of 21 hours in a week watching television. However, junk food advertisements are also aided by external factors such as the willingness of parents to give in to their child’s demands. Therefore, the need of the hour is that parents should monitor the time kids spends in front of the television set.
Researchers for long in a bid to understand the underpinning of childhood obesity have conducted studies to look at the effect of advertisements. For years, American health experts have been calling for a ban on junk food ads because they have a telling effect on childhood obesity. Obesity amongst children is turning into a major health concern. In America alone, one out of every six children is obese. A child watches around 5000 to 1000 food related advertisements on a yearly basis. Of these advertisements, the lion’s share goes to junk food commercials.
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