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Ads Confuse Kids On Health ~ [Issue 1005-1]  Wellness Weekly
 Oct 10, 2005 08:19 PDT 


A University of Illinois study finds television commercials about
food are confusing children about what is healthy and what is not.
The study found the more television a child watches, the more
confused they are about what foods will make them strong and healthy.
Speech Professor Kristen Harrison, the author of the study, said the
commercials also robbed children of their ability to provide the
reasons behind their food choices. Harrison found children equate
labels like "diet" with "fat-free" with nutritious. "When they were
presented with choices like Diet Coke vs. orange juice and fat-free
ice cream vs. cottage cheese, they were more likely to pick the wrong
answer - the diet and fat-free foods - than when they were presented
with choices without these labels, for example, spinach vs. lettuce,"
Harrison said. "The labels 'diet' and 'fat-free' suggest that these
foods are good for them and make it harder for them to pick the
'right' answer," Harrison said, noting that the goal of the study was
"to gauge children's understanding of which food would help them
grow, not make them slimmer."
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