Is there a direct link between junk food advertising and childhood obesity?
Junk food advertising is like wallpaper in our lives and our children’s lives too. Dr Jenny Norman and Associate Professor Bridget Kelly tell us about their studies to show the effect junk food advertising has on our children.
Their study looked at how much food primary school children ate after watching TV (that contained advertisements) and playing an online branded advergame. Some days children saw junk food advertising and on the other days children saw non-food advertising. They found children ate more at a snack break on the days they saw junk food advertising compared with days they didn’t see food advertising. And children didn’t compensate for this increased food intake by eating less at lunch on those days. Children left camp on the days they’d seen food advertising having eaten 194 kilojoules more than they ate on the days they didn’t see food advertising. In the long term, that can contribute to weight gain.
To protect kids we need regulation of food marketing to children, including on TV up until 9pm and online.