Researchers say that junk food commercials on pizzas and burgers during TV programmes impact on food choices among children and their brain activities as well. Describing that, children’s decisions are driven by tastiness rather than healthfulness.
After watching food advertisements, the taste was given more importance by children compared with non-food commercials.
23 children aged between 8-14 years rated 60 food items on how healthy or tasty they were and the researchers studied on the basis of their study. They even studied the brain activity of the children, while observing food and non-food advertisements and undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).
Amanda Bruce, a researcher at the University of Kansas’ medical centre said, “For brain analyses, our primary focus was on the brain region most active during reward valuation, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex. During the brain scan, children were asked whether they wanted to eat the food items that were shown immediately after the commercials.”
Furthermore, the decision is quicker when the children decide whether they want to eat the food item shown. Study noticed their behaviour after watching food commercials as well.
Additionally, even the ventromedial prefrontal cortices were remarkably more active after watching food commercials.
Bruce, in a paper published in the Journal of Pediatrics explains, “The results of this study show that watching food commercials may change the way children value taste, increasing the potential for children to make faster, more impulsive food choices.”
Children who often involve in junk food will be at higher risk of health complications like obesity and depression. These fattening food could be addictive and leads to low self-esteem which will further effect their school activities.
According to Time, “There’s a lot of evidence that fast-food consumption is linked to childhood obesity, but the problems don’t end there,” explains Kelly Purtell, lead author of the study and assistant professor of human sciences at (OSU). “Relying too much on fast food could hurt how well children do in the classroom.”