Does TV and internet advertising feed children’s junk food habits?

Does TV and internet advertising feed children’s junk food habits?

“Every hour kids spend online increases chance of buying junk food by a fifth,” reports The Daily Telegraph. A Cancer Research UK survey of almost 2,500 children found those who used the internet or watched commercial television for more than half an hour a day were more likely to ask for, buy or eat junk food (food high in fat, salt and sugar). Researchers found the primary school-age children surveyed spent an average of 16 hours a week on the internet. They found 4 of the 5 most popular websites the children used were commercial sites that display online advertising. That compares to an average of 22 hours of television a week, 12 hours of which was on commercial channels that show adverts. There are currently no UK guidelines on screen time for children. These are expected in 2019. What did the study find? Researchers found links between the amount of time children spent watching TV or on the internet and their likelihood of being overweight, asking for junk food, and buying and eating certain types of junk food. Time spent watching commercial TV or online wasn’t linked to children’s activity levels. Each additional hour children spent watching commercial TV was linked to: a 22% increased chance of children asking for food they’d seen advertiseda 21% increased chance of children buying food they’d seen advertiseda 23% increased chance of them consuming sugary drinksan 18% increased chance of consuming pastriesa 16% increased chance of consuming crisps and sweets Each additional hour children spent online was linked to: a 19% increased chance of children asking for food they’d seen advertiseda 19%...