Journal of Pediatrics: Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices

14 Aug

Moi wrote in Should there be advertising in schools?

Joanna Lin of California Watch has written an interesting article which was posted at Huffington Post. In the article, Corporate Sponsorship In Schools Can Harm Students, Experts Say, Lin describes how cash strapped districts are using ad dollars to make up budget shortfalls.

For schools facing shrinking budgets, a branded scoreboard on the football field or advertisement on a school bus can bring some much-needed cash. But such corporate sponsorships also could undermine students’ critical thinking skills, education policy experts warn.

While commercialism in schools can directly harm students — marketing sodas and candy undermines nutrition curriculums, for instance — it also might discourage students from thinking critically about the brands, messages or topics sponsored in their schools, according to a report released by the National Education Policy Center.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/09/corporate-sponsorship-in-_n_1084072.html?ref=email_share

The issue is whether children in a “captive” environment have the maturity and critical thinking skills to evaluate the information contained in the ads. Advertising is about creating a desire for the product, pushing a lifestyle which might make an individual more prone to purchase products to create that lifestyle, and promoting an image which might make an individual more prone to purchase products in pursuit of that image. Many girls and women have unrealistic body image expectations which can lead to eating disorders in the pursuit of a “super model” image. What the glossy magazines don’t tell young women is the dysfunctional lives of many “super models” which may involve both eating disorders and substance abuse. The magazines don’t point out that many “glamor girls” are air-brushed or photo-shopped and that they spend hours on professional make-up and professional hair-styling in addition to having a personal trainer and stylist. In other words, when presented with any advertising, people must make a determination what to believe.                                                                                      https://drwilda.com/tag/advertising-and-children/

Science Daily reported in Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices:

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view between 1,000 and 2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown that there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and the amount and type of food consumed. In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Twenty-three children, 8-14 years old, rated 60 food items on how healthy or tasty they were. Dr. Amanda Bruce and researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and University of Missouri-Kansas City then studied the children’s brain activity while watching food and non-food commercials and undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). According to Dr. Bruce, “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.

The researchers found that, overall, the children’s decisions were driven by tastiness rather than healthfulness. However, taste was even more important to the children after watching food commercials compared with non-food commercials; faster decision times (i.e., how quickly the children decided whether they wanted to eat the food item shown) also were observed after watching food commercials. Additionally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortices of the children were significantly more active after watching food commercials….                                                     https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/08/160812073647.htm

Citation:

Study of brain activity shows that food commercials influence children’s food choices

Date:        August 12, 2016

Source:    Elsevier Health Sciences

Summary:

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view 1,000-2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and amount and type of food consumed. In a new study, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Journal Reference:

  1. Amanda S. Bruce, Stephen W. Pruitt, Oh-Ryeong Ha, J. Bradley C. Cherry, Timothy R. Smith, Jared M. Bruce, Seung-Lark Lim. The Influence of Televised Food Commercials on Children’s Food Choices: Evidence from Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activations. The Journal of Pediatrics, 2016; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.067

Here is the press release from Elsevier:

Research And Journals

Study of Brain Activity Shows that Food Commercials Influence Children’s Food Choices

Cincinnati, OH, August 12, 2016

Food advertising is a multi-billion dollar industry, with approximately $1.8 billion annually aimed at children and adolescents, who view between 1,000 and 2,000 ads per year. Some studies have shown that there is a relationship between receptivity to food commercials and the amount and type of food consumed.  In a new study scheduled for publication in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers studied the brain activity of children after watching food commercials and found that the commercials influence children’s food choices and brain activity.

Twenty-three children, 8-14 years old, rated 60 food items on how healthy or tasty they were. Dr. Amanda Bruce and researchers from the University of Kansas Medical Center and University of Missouri-Kansas City then studied the children’s brain activity while watching food and non-food commercials and undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). According to Dr. Bruce, “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.

The researchers found that, overall, the children’s decisions were driven by tastiness rather than healthfulness.  However, taste was even more important to the children after watching food commercials compared with non-food commercials; faster decision times (i.e., how quickly the children decided whether they wanted to eat the food item shown) also were observed after watching food commercials.  Additionally, the ventromedial prefrontal cortices of the children were significantly more active after watching food commercials.

Food marketing has been cited as a significant factor in food choices, overeating, and obesity in children and adolescents.  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.  Notes Dr. Bruce, “Food marketing may systematically alter the psychological and neurobiological mechanisms of children’s food decisions.”

Notes for editors
The article is “The Influence of Televised Food Commercials on Children’s Food Choices: Evidence from Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex Activations,” by Amanda S. Bruce, PhD, Stephen W. Pruitt, PhD, Oh-Ryeong Ha, PhD, Bradley C. Cherry, JD, Timothy R. Smith, MD, Jared M. Bruce, PhD, and Seung-Lark Lim, PhD (doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.06.067). It appears in The Journal of Pediatrics (2016), published by Elsevier.

Full text of the article is available to credentialed journalists upon request; contact Becky Lindeman at +1 513 636 7140 or journal.pediatrics@cchmc.org to obtain copies.

About The Journal of Pediatrics
The Journal of Pediatrics is a primary reference for the science and practice of pediatrics and its subspecialties. This authoritative resource of original, peer-reviewed articles oriented toward clinical practice helps physicians stay abreast of the latest and ever-changing developments in pediatric medicine. The Journal of Pediatrics is ranked 6th out of 120 pediatric medical journals (2015 Journal Citation Reports®, published by Thomson Reuters). www.jpeds.com

About Elsevier
Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey— and publishes over 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 35,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group, a world-leading provider of information and analytics for professional and business customers across industries. www.elsevier.com

Media contact
Becky Lindeman
Journal of Pediatrics
+1 513 636 7140
journal.pediatrics@cchmc.org

Advertising, if it is allowed in schools, must be handled with great care. It is not just the ads, it is the values that the individual ad and the totality of all ads represent. It is imperative that schools look at their values before approving ads. For example, are the ads promoting healthy nutrition and eating habits? Are the ads promoting an unrealistic body image for adolescents? Are the ads promoting a purely materialistic lifestyle which encourages purchases of high priced clothing, electronics, or vehicles which are not in line with the income of most children? Are the ads in line with the school or district’s mission statement?

It is easy for children to get derailed because of peer pressure in an all too permissive society.

Our goal should be:

A Healthy Child In A Healthy Family Who Attends A Healthy School In A Healthy Neighborhood. ©

Resources:

NEA Today: Cash-Strapped Schools Open Their Doors to Advertising http://neatoday.org/2011/11/03/cash-strapped-schools-open-their-doors-to-advertising/

Yale Rudd Center for Food & Obesity

http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/what_we_do.aspx?id=154

Junk Food Ads Tips

http://www.commonsensemedia.org/advice-for-parents/junk-food-ads-tips

Media and Technology Resources for Educators
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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https://drwilda.com/

 

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