|Photo by Honza Soukup via Flickr|
Folkvord et al. (doi: 10.1542/peds. 2013-3384) perform a fascinating study to show how the power of media persuasion in an impulsive child can triumph over being asked directly to refrain from eating. The impulsive children, along with the non-impulsive children, were randomized to play advergames while being rewarded to not eat while playing these games. Interestingly, this power of media persuasion does not triumph in children who lack impulsivity. In addition, the authors explore how these advergames, even when no reward is offered for non-eating, can contribute to increased caloric intake in both impulsive and non-impulsive children.
If you were skeptical about the role advertising plays in becoming susceptible to eating the product being advertised, this study should remove any doubt of skepticism. In fact, hopefully the media will advertise this study so parents, as well as pediatricians, can recognize the risks of overexposure to food advertisements, particularly the non-nutritious ones, in terms of their association with increased weight gain in children who watch these more than others. This is a study well-worth ingesting your time to read and learn about.