Fast Food And Obesity

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FOOD MATTERS: RESEARCH • Obesity in children increases the more hours they watch television. • Children’s exposure to TV ads for unhealthy food products (i.e., high-calorie, low-nutrient snacks, fast foods and sweetened drinks) are a significant risk factor for obesity. • In very young children, research has found that for every one-hour increase in TV viewing per day, there are higher intakes of sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food, red and processed meat, and overall calories (48.7 kcal/day). Excess weight can be gained by the addition of only 150 calories a day. • Other research has found that children who watch more than three hours of television a day are 50 per cent more likely to be obese than children who watch fewer than two hours. • Food and beverage advertising targeted at children influences their product preferences, requests and diet. • The food and beverage industry has resolved to self-regulate their marketing to children, but this has not resulted in significant improvement in the marketing of healthier food (i.e., fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or non-fat milk or dairy products, lean meats, poultry, fish and beans) to children. Almost three out of every four foods advertised to children falls into the unhealthy categories that contribute to the obesity epidemic. • Food ads on television make up 50 percent of all the ad time on children’s shows. These ads are almost completely dominated by unhealthy food products (34 percent for

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