Exposure to food advertising increases children’s food intake

A comprehensive analysis of published studies looking at advertising exposure and food intake has concluded that children exposed to food advertising ate more than those that were not exposed to advertising. And the effect of increased food intake was influenced by both TV advertising and internet advertising. The effect was not seen in adults probably because adults are able to look more critically at advertising.

The researchers conclude that because advertising is repetitious and delivered through different media and settings the collective effects of exposure over a child’s lifetime would have significant effects on the population’s health. This evidence supports calls for policy to reduce children’s exposure to food marketing.

Boyland EJ, Nolan S, Kelly B, Tudur-Smith C, Jones A, Halford JCG, et al. Advertising as a cue to consume: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acute exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on intake in children and adults. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2016 Jan 20; In Press.

The results are also supported by a previously published review of studies into food cues and eating behaviour in all age groups. This study found that visual exposure to pictures and videos such as in food advertising increased eating behaviour and weight.

Boswell RG, Kober H. Food cue reactivity and craving predict eating and weight gain: a meta-analytic review. Obesity Reviews 2016 Feb 1; 17(2):159-77.
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