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Childhood Obesity: New study examines popular children's movies

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When it comes to tackling the problem of childhood obesity, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says portion size is very important, but a recent study shows children’s movies may be a huge contributor to the problem.

The FDA’s website encourages parents to pay attention to portion sizes. FDA nutrition expert Shirley Blakely instructs parent to “put just one serving on each person’s plate.”

She goes on to say parents and kids should pre-measure food and eat it from a plate or bowl instead of out of the container.

That advice sounds great, but a study conducted by researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill reveals why this may be a difficult task for some.

A look at the most popular children’s movies—both live action and animated—released in the U.S. from 2006 to 2010 revealed disturbing news.

When analyzing the top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies, 26 percent of the movie segments with food depicted exaggerated portion size, 51 percent depicted unhealthy snacks, and 19 percent depicted sugar-sweetened beverages.

Movie segments rated as “unhealthy” by the researchers outnumbered those rated as “healthy” by 2:1.

After hearing this news, it’s no surprise that the American Heart Association revealed that about 5 percent of U.S. children and teens are 'severely obese' — a newly defined class of risk.

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