Food advertisement is a billion-dollar industry. It is estimated that $1.8 billion are spent on advertising foods to children. In fact, the average child views between 1,000 and 2,000 food commercials each year. A recent study done that will be published in “The Journal Of Pediatrics” showed that food advertisements influenced children’s food choices and brain activity.
The study was led by Dr. Amanda Bruce and a team of researchers at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The study involved 23 children who were between the ages of eight and 14. They were asked to rate 60 food items based on how healthy they were and how they tasted. The researchers also studied how the children’s brains reacted during food commercials and non-food commercials.
The researchers gave the children a brain scan and asked them whether they wanted to eat the food items in the commercial. They found that the children selected food based on taste rather than healthiness. They also found that taste played an even bigger role in food selection when children watched food commercials.
Commercials influenced how quickly children decided that they wanted to eat a particular food. Additionally, the researchers found that the children’s ventromedial prefontal cortices were more active when they watched food commercials. The ventromedial prefontal cortex influences decision-making. It also regulates emotional responses.
There have been other studies done to examine the link between food marketing and food choices. Studies have also found that there is a link between food marketing and obesity. The results of this study prove that there is a direct link between food marketing and food choices. The researchers concluded that food commercials may change the way that children view taste, which can influence their food choices. Children are also more likely to make more impulsive and faster food choices after watching a food commercial. Dr. Bruce noted that food marketing can also change the neurological and physiological mechanisms that influence children’s food choices.