T. van Strien
- Maternal encouragement to be thin moderates the effect of commercials on children's snack food intake
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
The present study experimentally tested the effects of adult targeted food commercials (energy-dense and light food products) on actual snack food intake in young children while watching television. Furthermore, the moderating role of maternal behaviors was investigated. The children (N = 121, aged between 8 and 12 years) were exposed to a neutral movie that was interrupted by two commercial breaks. These breaks contained commercials promoting either energy-dense foods, low energy versions of the same energy-dense foods (light food commercials), or neutral commercials aimed at adults. Snack food intake during watching television was measured. Children filled out questionnaires and were weighed and measured afterwards. Children who perceived maternal encouragement to be thin ate slightly more when exposed to energy-dense food commercials and especially when exposed to light food commercials than when exposed to neutral commercials. In contrast, children who perceived no maternal encouragement to be thin ate more when exposed to neutral commercials than when exposed to either energy-dense food commercials or light food commercials. These findings suggest that exposure to adult targeted light food cues produced disinhibition in children who experienced maternal encouragement to be thin, resulting in elevated snack food intake.
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