In a series of experimental studies, Rudd Center researchers found that TV food advertisements increased automatic snacking by children and adults.

In the experiments, children and adults exposed to the advertising snacked more on available food, even if it was not specifically presented in the ads. The findings appear in the July issue of Health Psychology.

“This research shows a direct and powerful link between television food advertising and calories consumed by adults and children,” said Dr. Harris. “Food advertising triggers automatic eating, regardless of hunger, and is a significant contributor to the obesity epidemic. Reducing unhealthy food advertising to children is critical.”

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