Positive Parenting Newsfeed—a Child Trends Project—is Supported by the National Science Foundation

Ads Affect Kids’ Food Choices

Child watching television

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — The goal of TV advertising is to convince you to buy a specific product. But what influence do commercials have on kids? New research shows that the food your child sees on TV could be related to their eating habits.

Many parents monitor the TV shows their kids watch, but what about the content that airs between your child’s favorite programs?

New research shows commercials may influence your child’s habits. Researchers conducted an experiment that looked at 200 nine- and 10-year-olds. The kids were fed and then shown a 34-minute TV show that contained commercials for either food or toys. The children who viewed a show with food ads, including a commercial for gummy candy, later ate an average of 48 more calories of gummy candy than those who saw toy ads. The scientists reported that the kids with an obesity-associated gene were more likely to eat the gummies if they saw the commercial. The bottom line? What your children are watching may be what they end up wanting!

The kids who ate the extra gummy candy did so even though they reported feeling satisfied after eating lunch. Both groups ate the same amount of calories overall. The scientists say more research is needed to find out how big of a role genes play in food overconsumption.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Julie Marks, Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

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