Television and Food Choice



Television viewing is an extremely popular activity worldwide, but evidence is mounting linking increased television viewing with weight gain and risk of obesity. Levels of obesity have risen at dramatic rates over the past few decades, and both overweight and obesity are associated with numerous adverse health and psychosocial consequences. Weight gain, and ultimately obesity, occurs when energy intake exceeds expenditure over time, so it is vital that we examine factors affecting food intake in young people in order to try to curb the obesity epidemic. It has been suggested that one mechanism linking television viewing and obesity may be the impact of television food advertising on food preferences, choices, and consumption. There is considerable evidence to show that exposure to television food advertising alters brand preferences, food preferences, increases food intake and results in a greater number of requests for the advertised products. Steps to address this issue should focus on limiting television viewing in young people, restricting their exposure to adverts for high fat, sugar, and/or salt foods and encouraging the promotion of healthier foods on television. Lessons can be learnt from the experience of banning cigarette advertising, and can be used to inform future restrictions on the advertising of alcohol on television.


Obese Child Food Preference Television Viewing Breakfast Cereal Television Advertising 



American Academy of Pediatrics


Body Mass Index


High Fat, Sugar and/or Salt Foods


Institute of Medicine


Office of Communications


World Health Organisation


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Kissileff Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behaviour, School of PsychologyUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK

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