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Children who Watch more Fast-Food TV Ads tend to eat more Fast Food, Study Finds

Update Date: Oct 31, 2015 10:07 AM EDT
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What your children see on television can greatly influence what they eat.

In a new study, researchers set out to examine the influence of fast-food TV advertisements targeted to children on families with young kids. The researchers examined 100 children between the ages of three and seven and one of their parents.

The parents were interviewed about how frequent their children watched four child-specific channels and whether or not they ask to go to two fast-food restaurant chains that advertised a lot on these channels. Roughly 80 percent of the two restaurant ads aired on these four channels.

The parents were also asked how often they went to the fast-food places and if their children received toys as a part of a meal.

The team calculated that 37 percent of the parents frequently went to the fast-food chains with 54 percent of children directly asking to go to at least one of the two places. A total of 29 percent of the children received toys. Out of this percentage, 83 percent of the kids had asked to go to the restaurant.

The researchers found families that visited the fast-food chains more often were more likely to have more than one TV at home and a TV in the child's room. The children in these families also watched more TV throughout the day.

Study author Jennifer Emond, of Dartmouth College's Geisel School of Medicine in New Hampshire, recommends families to look for commercial-free TV programs that would be appropriate for children.

The study was published in The Journal of Pediatrics.

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