Tags: fast | food | ads | obesity | youth

Fast-food ads Linked to Obesity

Tuesday, 15 May 2012 12:17 PM

Watching a lot of TV is known to promote obesity in young people. But new research suggests what they’re watching may actually be the culprit. The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center study found teens and young adults most familiar with fast-food TV ads are more likely to be overweight.
The study, presented at a recent meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies, suggests young people may be particularly vulnerable to catchy advertising and commercials that may push them to eat more junk food.
"We know that children and adolescents are highly exposed to fast-food restaurant advertising, particularly on television,” said lead researcher Dr. Auden C. McClure. “This study links obesity in young people to familiarity with this advertising, suggesting that youth who are aware of and receptive to televised fast-food marketing may be at risk for health consequences."
For the study, McClure and her colleagues surveyed 3,342 youths -- ages 15 to 23 years – about their height, weight, exercise habits, soda consumption, how often they eat at fast-food restaurants and how many hours they watch TV each day.
They also were shown 20 images of TV ads for top quick-service restaurants that were edited to remove the brand names. The youths were asked if they recognized the ads, liked them and could name the restaurant brands.
Researchers found about 33 percent of participants were overweight or obese. Those who recognized many ads were more than twice as likely to be obese as those who recognized few ads (17 percent vs. 8.3 percent).
"Individuals who are more familiar with these ads may have food consumption patterns that include many types of high-calorie food brands, or they may be especially sensitive to visual cues to eat while watching TV," said study author Dr. James D. Sargent. “More research is necessary to determine how fast-food ad familiarity is linked to obesity."

© HealthDay

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Study: Young people most familiar with fast-food TV ads are more likely to be overweight.
Tuesday, 15 May 2012 12:17 PM
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