A new study discovers that celebrities who endorse food on TV have a far greater influence on children’s eating habits than previously thought.
It is well-known that children are more likely to choose food that is endorsed by a celebrity regardless of the type of food. In a 2012 study, children were offered an apple with an Elmo sticker on it and a cookie; the majority of children picked the apple with the sticker over the cookie.
The researchers examined the food choices of children aged between eight and 11 after watching popular UK sports person Gary Lineker host a TV show and endorse potato crisps in a commercial. The researchers found not only did the children choose Lineker’s brand of crisps but also they ate significantly more crisps than children who viewed commercials for nuts and toys.
Researcher, Jason Halford said: "Obviously when they saw Gary Lineker in the advertisement, they ate a lot more crisps... but what was surprising was when we showed him presenting his show, we found that it had the same effect as the advertisement."
The results have alarmed researchers because food endorsed by celebrities are often unhealthy choices and could have a negative effect on the long-term health and weight of a child.
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