TV fast food adverts cause childhood obesity.

video gaming imageA new study has been released that demonstrates the impact of electronic media on childhood obesity. Prior studies have documented the social media effects of video gaming which incorporates fast food adverts on the eating habits of the youth exposed to the social media on a continual basis.

The Norton Cancer Center analyzed the effect of TV advertising on 2,541 study participants between 15 and 23 years old who were surveyed for the study. The survey consisted of a random subset of 20 advertisement frames, (with brand names removed), selected from national TV fast-food restaurant advertisements which was presented and with the following questions:

1. Did they like it?
2. Could they name the brand?

A recognition factor called the TV fast-food advertising receptivity score was assigned to each response. Youth with higher receptivity scores were more likely to have obesity than those with lower scores.
The link between youth obesity and receptiveness to TV fast food advertising held even when factors like snacking while watching TV, sugary drink intake, and frequency of visits to fast food restaurants were accounted for.

“Given the concerning rates of obesity in US youth and associated health risks, a better understanding of influences leading to obesity in youth is critical in guiding prevention and public health strategies,” said Auden McClure MD MPH, assistant professor of Pediatrics and of Community and Family Medicine at the Geisel School of Medicine and at the Dartmouth Institute, and member of the NCCC Cancer Control Research Program. “The more we know about how marketing influences teens and young adults, the better able we are as parents and pediatricians at helping young people to navigate the influx of marketing messages and make good choices.”


Auden C. McClure, Susanne E. Tanski, Diane Gilbert-Diamond, Anna M. Adachi-Mejia, Zhigang Li, Zhongze Li, James D. Sargent. Receptivity to Television Fast-Food Restaurant Marketing and Obesity Among U.S. Youth. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 2013; 45 (5): 560 DOI: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.06.011

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