When Children Eat What They Watch

In the early 1950’s there was ample prime-time, family-centered programming with no advertisements. In fact, 85 children’s programs were televised per week and almost half of these programs were commercial-free.

Obviously, that has changed. The average US child now sees more than 40,000 television commercials per year. During Saturday morning cartoons, children view an average of 1 food commercial every 5 minutes. Since the average child watches 3 hour/day that comes to 36 commercials/day. More than 90% of these advertisements are for high-sugar cereals and candy bars, salty canned foods, fast food, or other junk food.

A clever, longitudinal design study was done that found for each hour of television watched there was an increase of 167kcal/d ingested. The increase in energy consumption was accounted for by the foods commonly advertised on television, including salty and sweet snacks and fast food.

This is just another reason to limit the amount of time spent watching television.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD

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