TV Ads and Fast Foods

March 6, 2018 by: Pediatrics for Parents staff Article Tags: ,

The Question: Do fast-food ads aimed at children affect how often their families visit the restaurants?

The Study: One hundred parents with children three to seven years old were asked about their visits to local fast-food restaurants, their child’s requests to eat at fast-food restaurants, their child’s collecting of toy premiums, and their children’s television watching.

The Results: Thirty-seven of the parents said they took their children to fast-food restaurants one or more times per month. Fifty-four percent of the children asked their parents to take them to a fast-food establishment, and 29% said they collect restaurant toys. The more TV a child watched, the greater the more visits to fast-food restaurants.

Comment: The authors concluded that the more TV watching a child did, the greater the chances of eating at fast-food restaurants. They felt the increased exposure to fast food ads was the cause of this relationship.

It’s hard to say if the purported relationship is causal or just an incidental correlation. Using parent recall, or any recall for that matter, is always tenuous. Further studies are needed to clarify if this relationship is causative or not.

Read More: The Journal of Pediatrics, 01/16