Last updated January 24, 2018 at 2:37 pm
Research from the UK shows that television advertisements have a strong influence on teenagers’ eating habits.
Cancer Research UK surveyed nearly 3500 teenagers about their television viewing habits – including streaming – and their diets.
They found that teenagers who view three or more hours of commercial television every day end up eating at least 500 more junk food snacks per year than their counterparts who watch less television, or television without advertisements.
Specific examples include fizzy drinks – teenagers exposed to advertising were 139 per cent more likely to indulge, and prepackaged meals – 65 per cent more likely to eat.
Accodring to one of the lead authors on the study, Dr Jyotsna Vohra, “This is the strongest evidence yet that junk food adverts could increase how much teens choose to eat.
We’re not claiming that every teenager who watches commercial TV will gorge on junk food but this research suggests there is a strong association between advertisements and eating habits.
“Our report suggests that reducing junk food TV marketing could help to halt the obesity crisis.”
Not only does this behaviour make teenagers less healthy in the short term, it also impacts their future health, as Cancer Research UK’s prevention expert Professor Linda Bauld notes: “Obese children are five times more likely to remain obese as adults which can increase their risk of cancer later in life.
According to the most recent Australian data available (from 2014 – 2015), one in four children between the ages of two and 17 years old are overweight or obese.
This report was released by Cancer Research UK.