Are TV cereal ads making your kids fat?

accreditation
Cereal ads on TV have a strong influence on what kids eat.
Cereal ads on TV have a strong influence on what kids eat.

"Brands specifically target children in their advertising knowing that children will ask their parents for those products," Emond said in a medical centre news release.

While laboratory studies have shown that TV ads influence children's food choices, no real-world study has been conducted to examine the effectiveness of TV food ads on children's eating habits, according to Emond.

The effect of advertising

"We conducted the first longitudinal study among preschool-age children to see how exposure to TV ads for high-sugar cereals influences kids' subsequent intake of those advertised cereals," she said.

Emond and colleagues counted, by brand, cereal ads on TV shows watched by the children. Every eight weeks, for one year, parents were asked about the shows their children watched and what cereals their kids ate in the past week.

"We found that kids who were exposed to TV ads for high-sugar cereals aired in the programmes they watched were more likely to subsequently eat the cereals they had seen advertised," Emond said.

"Our models accounted for several child, parent and household characteristics, and whether the child ate each cereal before the study started. We were able to isolate the effect of cereal advertisement exposure on kids' intake of cereals, independent of all of those other factors," she explained.

The study was published online recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Reducing the marketing of high-sugar foods to children could improve their eating habits and reduce their risk of obesity and related chronic diseases later in life, Emond said.

Image credit: iStock

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1411 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 7787 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1613 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.47
-2.2%
Rand - Pound
21.05
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
18.91
-0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.09
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Platinum
974.02
-5.0%
Palladium
1,623.95
-2.8%
Gold
1,865.16
0.0%
Silver
22.35
0.0%
Brent Crude
79.94
-2.8%
Top 40
74,082
+0.6%
All Share
80,241
+0.6%
Resource 10
75,186
+0.7%
Industrial 25
103,461
+0.8%
Financial 15
16,550
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE