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Ads influence obesity, drinking in young people, studies suggest

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Two new studies were presented April 29 at the Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) annual meeting in Boston which suggests familiarities with alcohol and fast-food television advertisements in young people are associated with obesity and underage drinking. The new research implies restricting both alcohol and fast-food (television) advertisements for youth viewing.

Studies show minors who recognize alcoholic ads were more likely to drink and minors who recognize quick-service restaurant ads were more likely to be overweight. However, there may be underlying, confounding factors involved muddling the research information. The possibility of these associations may be a previous awareness of the alcohol and fast-food factors which alert the young people to these advertisements when there are aired.

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In other words, which came first?

Are the children more aware of the alcohol and fast-food factors from their immediate environment and when the ads are aired it catches their attention or do the ads actually promote the interests?

Believing the ads are the culprit may divert the actual problem of the associations and ignore the genuine issue of the influential home environment. The familiarity may be the exposure within the home and the awareness to these ads may be the initial red-flag to future problems.

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Sources:

Familiarity with television fast-food ads linked to obesity

TV alcohol advertising may play role in underage drinking

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