Kids’ fast food ads promote toys over burgers, study finds

Aug. 28, 2013, Everyday Health

By Amir Khan

If your kid is clamoring for a Happy Meal, he may be more interested in the toy than the burger, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire found that fast food advertisements aimed at kids promote toys and movie tie-ins more than the food, which could play a role in increasing childhood obesity epidemic.

Nearly 70 percent of fast food advertisements aimed at kids promoted giveaways or a movie tie-in, according to the study, compared to only 1 percent of advertisements targeting adults. Associating fast food with cartoon characters is linked to an increased consumption of fast food, according to the researchers, who said that there needs to be strict regulations on child-targeted advertising. Continue reading

Kids pick nutritional Happy Meal when no toy offered with less healthy option: Study

Aug. 12, 2012, Global News

By Sheryl Ubelacker

Children are far more likely to pick a healthier fast-food meal when promotional toys are offered only with those menu options and not with less nutritional fare like burgers, fries, and a pop, a study has found.

Canadian researchers set out to see which McDonald’s Happy Meals that kids age 6 to 12 would choose when toys were included with healthier menu combinations, but not with standard offerings that are typically higher in fat and salt. Continue reading