Commercials and Childrens Diet Choices

Dietary choices in children may be influenced by exposure to unhealthy advertisements

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) Children who are exposed to advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages may be more likely to make poor diet choices, according to a new study.

This study looked at 29 trials that consisted of more than 6,000 children. These trials looked at the effects in children of unhealthy food and beverage ads and their connection to calorie intake and nutrition choices. 

The study authors paid particular attention to unhealthy marketing seen in video game, television and movie commercials, magazine ads and product packaging (superheroes, logos, etc.).

Children who saw advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages consumed foods and beverages that consisted of more unhealthy than healthy calories, the McMaster University researchers behind this study found. These findings may suggest that children 8 years old or younger may be more vulnerable to, and therefore more likely to be influenced by, these unhealthy marketing campaigns. 

Past studies have found that children see an average of five food ads per hour and that 80 percent of all TV food ads are for unhealthy foods. These studies were conducted in the United States, Canada and Germany. 

Speak with your child's pediatrician about implementing a healthy diet for your child. 

This study was recently published in Obesity Reviews.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control funded this study. 

Information on potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 8, 2016
Last Updated:
July 19, 2016