Food advertising 'has more impact on obese children'

30 November 2012

Obese children are more likely to be taken in by food advertising, it has been indicated.

Research published in the Journal of Pediatrics assessed ten children of healthy weights and ten who were obese, between the ages of ten and 14 years.

Participants were shown 60 food logos and 60 non-food logos, and functional MRI scans were used to see which sections of the brain reacted to the logos been shown.

Obese children were seen to exhibit greater activation in some reward regions of the brain when shown the food logos compared to their healthy weight counterparts.

Conversely, healthy weight children showed greater brain activation in regions that were linked to self-control when shown food logos rather than the non-food logos.

This demonstrates that when placed in certain situations, healthy weight individuals display greater activation of control regions of the brain than obese people.

Dr Amanda Bruce, from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical Center, explained: "This study provides preliminary evidence that obese children may be more vulnerable to the effects of food advertising. One of the keys to improving health-related decision-making may be found in the ability to improve self-control."

Posted by Edward Bartel


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