Posted in: Health Studies

Celebrity Endorsements Influence What Children Eat [Study]

Unhealthy food choices children make based on celebrity endorsement

A dietary study of children published in the Journal of Pediatrics outlines how children are especially susceptible to celebrity influence when it comes to the food products they endorse.

Celebrities are frequently used in television and print product advertising. Their use establishes a recognition and credibility to a brand. Celebrities are able to leverage their popularity in order to induce people into buying and using their endorsed products.

University of Liverpool (England) researchers enrolled 181 children, between the ages of 8 and 11, and had them watch three different television advertisements and regular television featuring the international soccer player Gary Lineker. Lineker has since retired from soccer and is known as a TV sportscaster who has been endorsing Walkers Crisps (potato chips) since 1995.

A group of children viewed footage of Match of the Day featuring Lineker as the primary presenter and advertisements for Walkers Crisps, Lineker featured as the endorser.

Short 20-minute cartoon segments and adverts for another snack food and a toy product were embedded for the other group.

After watching the study footage, the children were offered two bowls of crisps, each labeled with “Walker” or “Supermarket.” All bowls contained the exact same Walkers Crisps.

The amount consumed was measured from each bowl selected. The study found kids were more prone to select and eat more of the food endorsed by a celebrity. The children who specifically watched the Lineker film devoured substantially more of the endorsed product food than those who watched cartoons and other ads.

Lead researcher, Dr. Emma Boyland from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society, stated concerns over the powerful influence of a celebrity endorsement.

“This research has consequences for the use of celebrities, and in particular sports stars, in advertising unhealthy or High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products. If celebrity endorsement of HFSS products continues and their appearance in other contexts prompts unhealthy food intake then this would mean that the more prominent the celebrity the more detrimental the effects on children’s diets.”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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2 Responses to “Celebrity Endorsements Influence What Children Eat [Study]”

  1. Vicky Moore

    Children are influenced by everything around them….especially family as well. The old adage "we are what we eat" is so true. It begins at home. With the society we live in today where we are so busy we want quick and fast and don't care if it is nutritious anymore. I know, I gained over 100 lbs since my kids were born almost 30 years ago. I want to spend time with my grandkids and want to be more healthy. I want to teach them healthy options not fast food treats etc. Carrot sticks over fruit snacks, celery with fresh homemade peanut butter instead of cookies…. I found an awesome homeopathic weightloss product that has helped me to lose 40 lbs since September of 2012 and I am continuing to lose the rest of the 50 lbs I need to lose. My doctors are pleased and love this product too. I am even off my medications due to the owesome nutritionals that I supplement with. There are No chemicals, no GMO's, no artificial anything….you get to eat "normal" foods. Fresh fruits and vegetables, Chicken and Fish, turkey….nothing special just wonderful healthy food. I am now setting a great example not only for my 4 kids but their kids too. I'm loving it! If you want more information….email me at pureandhealthy@juno.com. We need to teach our kids right so they do not have to look to celebrities as examples if we do what is our job as their parents and grandparents to teach a better lifestyle with good nutrition!