Children's viewing time may increase requests for advertised products

who watched more TV and had more overall screen time requested advertised toys and food or drinks more often than those with less TV and screen time. For every extra hour per day that children watched television at the beginning of the study, they made on average one extra request for an advertised food or drink every six to 13 weeks at the end of the study, seven to 20 weeks later. Likewise, every extra hour of total screen time resulted in approximately one additional request for advertised food or drink every 13 to 24 weeks and one extra request for an advertised toy every 12 to 18 weeks.

The findings suggest that aiming to reduce television and total screen time could benefit children's health and help fight the current epidemic of obesity, the authors report. "Our study contributes support that reducing children's exposure to screen media may reduce their requests for advertised food and drinks, which are predominantly high in calories and low in nutritional density," they write.

"The current study does document that screen media exposure is a true prospective risk factor for subsequent consumeristic behavior, adding to the evidence supporting behavioral and policy interventions to reduce children's exposure to screen media and advertising, whether implemented at the individual family level, institutional level or the population level through legislation and changes in social norms," they conclude.


Contact: Robert Dicks
JAMA and Archives Journals

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