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Educating teenagers about junk food reduces consumption, study suggests

Discussion in 'Diabetes News' started by DCUK NewsBot, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. DCUK NewsBot

    DCUK NewsBot · Well-Known Member

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    Educating teenagers about junk food and how adverts are used to influence them reduces their purchasing habits by 31%, US researchers have said. Tackling obesity and type 2 diabetes rates worldwide is of significant importance, including among children. In a new study, a team from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business wanted to see how targeting young people and their natural desire to rebel, impacted their food choices. Part of the study involved giving a group of students an article about how big food companies try to manipulate consumers into buying addictive junk food. They then took part in an activity which involved viewing different food adverts on tablets and drawing truthful slogans about the product across the image. The idea behind this exercise was to help reinforce the negative portrayal of how food is marketed. Co-author of the study, Christopher Bryan, an assistant professor from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, said: "Food marketing is deliberately designed to create positive emotional associations with junk food, to connect it with feelings of happiness and fun. "What we've done is turn that around on the food marketers by exposing this manipulation to teenagers, triggering their natural strong aversion to being controlled by adults. If we could make more kids aware of that, it might make a real difference." Tracking the young people's food choices at the school cafeteria showed that boys particularly made healthier eating choices, reducing their consumption of fizzy drinks and junk food by 31% for the rest of the school year. Co-author David Yeager, Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at the University of Texas, added: "This study shows it's possible to change behaviour during adolescence using a light-touch intervention. "Adolescence is a developmental stage when even the lengthiest health promotion approaches have had virtually no effect. Because so many social problems, from education to risky behaviour, have their roots in the teen years, this study paves the way for solutions to some of the thorniest challenges for promoting global public health." The findings of the study have been published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour.

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  2. MeiChanski

    MeiChanski Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    This sounds like a good approach, however I feel social class has a role too. We could education children about junk food but if their parents can't afford it, then their health is at risk. Also, if the food pricing system is better making fruits and vegetables more affordable, compared to multiple packets of chocolate and crisps, this would allow families to have access to it. like £3 bowl of salad v £1 for a packet of 5 mars bars.
     
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  3. Spl@

    Spl@ Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Nah. Trying to save the titanic after it has sailed.

    It's more than kids eating duff food. It's a mindset. My kids diet is now far better because they know about carbs and its effect.

    Knowing why the food is bad for you only goes so far. How many smokers will say 'somethings going to get you' if you mention the health complications.

    The NHS pump out bad info too. The eat well plate, food triangle etc. The really annoying statement ad nauseum that overweight causes diabetes when it's as likely a symptom.

    It's a positive direction I suppose but not one that has legs. Kids follow fads and fashion. Rebellion is cool for students. Then they are living on lentils and rice as it's cheap.... And a t2 life path.

    How to turn the rudder of the good ship t2 awareness I don't know. I can't see this being it. Until government can step away from fat bad, carb good.
     
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  4. Bluetit1802

    Bluetit1802 Type 2 (in remission!) · Guru

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    Junk food is expensive if that is about all you eat. The "I can't afford to eat anything else" doesn't wash with me.
     
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  5. MeiChanski

    MeiChanski Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I agree, some parents can't see that though, that eating healthy can be budget friendly.
     
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  6. Listlad

    Listlad Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    It requires a top down / bottom up approach. This has been well used in other areas of a similar nature.
     
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