Mindless snacking in front of the television set may start long before children know how to work the remote control, a US study suggests.
In an experiment with 60 kids aged two to five years, researchers focused on how advertising influences what’s known as eating in the absence of hunger.
They gave all the children a healthy snack to make sure they had a full belly, and then sat the kids down to watch a TV program with ads for Bugles corn chips or for a department store.
All of the kids had Bugles corn chips and one other snack in front of them while they watched the show.
Children who saw ads for the corn chips ate 127 calories on average, compared to just 97 calories for kids who didn’t see Bugles on the screen, researchers report in Pediatrics.