By Sari Harrar
Two amazing statistics from a brand-new University of Missouri-Kansas City study of kids’ reactions to food advertising:
- Every year, companies spend more than $10 billion in the US marketing their food and beverages to children
- 98% of the food products advertised to children on television are high in fat, sugar, or sodium
That alone is a great reason to turn off the set during commercials -- and to talk with kids about the foods they see there -- large and in living color.
But this new study found something even more disturbing: The brains of some preteens’ and teens’ react more strongly to food advertising than others. For the study, researchers showed 60 food logos and 60 nonfood logos to a group of kids. Half the kids were at a normal weight, half were overweight. And the kids were given MRI brain scans as they looked at the logos.