You work hard to get some fruits and veggies on your kids’ plate so they’ll get accustomed to those flavors and learn to make healthy food choices for themselves. But it turns out TV commercials for junk food can derail those efforts. A new study published in The Journal of Pediatrics found children who watch commercials for junk food were more likely to choose it afterward, even when they received encouragement from their parents to go with a healthier option.
Plus: Everything Parents Should Know About Childhood Obesity
Researchers studied 75 children ages 3 to 8, who were divided into two groups. One group was shown two cartoons with three commercials for French fries in between, while the other group was shown the same cartoons but with ads for apples with dipping sauce. Afterward, the children chose a coupon for either food while getting "encouraging" input —You should choose the one that is healthiest—or "neutral" input —You should choose whichever one you want more—from their parents.
Plus: Calculate How Healthy Your Kid’s Lunch Is
Of the children who watched the commercials for the fries, 71 percent chose the coupon for the same when parents were neutral; more surprisingly, 55 percent still went for the fries even when parents advised them to choose the healthier option. Of the kids who watched the commercial for the apples, 46 percent chose the coupon for fries when parents remained neutral; only 33 percent did so when parents encouraged the healthier choice.
Plus: 10 Comfort Foods Everyone Will Love
How much are your kids influenced by TV commercials for junk food? What do you do to combat their influence?