Food Ads’ Strong Impact on Kids

A new study reveals the impact of fast-food ads and parental influence on kids’ decisions.

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New research shows that fast-food ads have a strong impact on kids’ decisions, but parents can help to steer them into healthy choices. The new study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, observed 75 young children as they watched a series of two cartoons with commercials for either French fries or apple slices with dipping sauce. Afterwards, the children could choose a coupon for either food with input from their parents, half of whom encouraged the apple slices and half of whom remained neutral. Of the children who watched the French fries commercial, 71 percent chose the coupon for fries if their parents were neutral, versus 55 percent if their parents suggested the apple slices. In the apple-commercial group, only 46 percent of the neutral-parents group picked French fries, and only 33 percent of those with influence from their parents.

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