November 2nd, 2015

Kids Meals, Toys, and TV Advertising: A Triple Threat to Child Health

By Becky Lindeman
The Journal of Pediatrics

Cincinnati, OH, October 30, 2015—Fast food companies advertise children’s meals on TV with ads that feature toy premiums, and it has been suggested that the use of these toy premiums may prompt children to request eating at fast food restaurants. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that the more children watched television channels that aired ads for children’s fast food meals, the more frequently their families visited those fast food restaurants.

The researchers enrolled 100 children (3-7 years of age) and one of their parents in the study. The parents completed a survey that included questions about how often their children watched each of the four children’s networks, if their children requested visits to the two restaurants, if their children collected toys from those restaurants, and how often the family visited those restaurants. Researchers found that 37% of parents reported more frequent visits to the two fast food restaurants with child-directed TV ads.

Fifty-four percent of the children requested visits to at least one of the restaurants. Of the 29% of children who collected toys from the restaurants, almost 83% requested to visit one or both of the restaurants. Some factors associated with more frequent visits were more TVs in the home, a TV in the child’s bedroom, more time spent watching TV during the day, and more time spent watching one of the four children’s networks airing the majority of child-directed ads.

Read more: http://www.jpeds.com/content/JPEDSEmond

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