Kids are more inclined to select food items based on food ads on TV rather than listening to their parents' suggestions, a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics reveals.
Researchers from the Texas A&M International University conducted the study on 75 kids aged between 3 and 8 years and showed them two different ads in between cartoon shows. One group was shown an ad for French fries while the other group was shown a commercial for apple slices with dipping sauce in addition to the ad about the French Fries.
The kids were then given encouraging suggestions from their parents, such as asking them to select food items that were the healthiest or simply to select whichever food items they liked. They were then asked to take out coupons for either of the advertised food items.
The researchers found that 71 percent of those who had watched only the French Fries ad opted for that coupon when the parents gave a neutral suggestion while 55 percent selected the food item when their parents gave a positive suggestion. The response was better among the second group with 46 percent choosing coupon for French Fries on neutral suggestion while just 33 percent opted for French Fries when their parents gave a positive suggestion.
"We were very skeptical about the power of food advertising on kids' food choices, particularly when parents were available to potentially offset those influences. Although parents were able to blunt the effects of food advertisements, it wasn't to the extent we had speculated", lead researcher Christopher Ferguson said.