TV food ads 'encourage snacking'

LONDON - New research from an American health journal suggests that TV food ads are directly encouraging children and adults to snack more.

Snacking...Yale University study into TV ads
Snacking...Yale University study into TV ads

A study by Yale university showed that children, aged seven to 11, watching cartoons with food ads ate 45 per cent more snack food than children watching the same show with non-food related ads.

The effect of TV-induced snacking from only a half hour’s viewing a day would lead to a weight gain of almost ten pounds a year, it claimed.

A second study saw adults exposed to unhealthy food advertising eating significantly more than those watching ads featuring healthy food.

The effects of TV-related snacking would only be mitigated by doing regular exercise and eating more of the right foods.

Author of the study, Jennifer Harris, said: "Food advertising triggers automatic eating, regardless of hunger, and is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Reducing unhealthy food advertising to children is critical."