Recent Study Shows Food Commercial Could Be RUINING Your Child’s Health
Written by: Lindsay Sibson
Please tell me it’s happened to you as well…
You’re sitting there watching your favorite show on T.V. and then… BAM – all of a sudden you see that cheesy, gooey and juicy hamburger commercial and now you are STARVING (not to mention 5 seconds ago you weren’t thinking about food at all).
Damnit. Freaking commercials – they get ya every time!
While you may be able to resist your T.V. induced temptations, young children and adolescents may not fare as well.
The Multi-Billion Dollar Industry
Let’s take a quick snapshot of what your family is up against:
- Food advertising is a MULTI-BILLION dollar industry
- Approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents
- Children and adolescents view between 1,000 to 2,000 ads per year
These numbers are scary, considering some studies have shown that there is a relationship between the interest in food commercials and the type AND amount of food consumed.
Researchers in a new study observed the brain activity of children after watching food commercials. What they found was that the commercials not only influence children’s food choices, but also influence their brain activity (study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics).
Researchers, along with Dr. Amanda Bruce from the University of Kansas Medical Center and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, studied the brain activity of 23 children between the ages of 8 to 14 years old. The children rated 60 food items on how tasty or healthy they were and then their brain activity was monitored while watching food and non-food commercials.
Function magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was able to capture some interesting brain activity of the participants.
“For brain analyses, our primary focus was on the brain region most active during reward valuation, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex,” stated Dr. Bruce.
During the brain scan, the children were asked whether they wanted to eat the food items that were shown immediately AFTER the commercials were viewed.
Overall, the research found that the children’s decisions were controlled by tastiness, rather than healthfulness. After watching food commercials compared to non-food commercials, taste was even MORE important to the children.
It was also noted that children had faster decision times after watching food commercials. They displayed faster decision times regarding whether they wanted to eat the food item shown.
On the brain activity level, it was observed that the ventromedial prefrontal cortices of the children were remarkably MORE active after watching food commercials (the area most active during reward).
These results indicate that watching food commercials may change the way children value taste and could result in them making more impulsive food choices.
According to Dr. Bruce:
“Food marketing may systematically alter the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of children’s food decisions.”
It’s no secret that food marketing has been cited as a notable factor in food choices, overeating and obesity in both children and adolescents.
What To Do To Protect Your Child
1. Limit your child’s T.V.viewing time (especially programs with commercials)
2. Cutting Sugar Improves Children’s Health in Just 10 Days
3. Encourage your child to eat less junk and exercise more
Are you a parent with a TIP to share? Please write us in the comment section below!
Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.
Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/_traveloholic_).
Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
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