Why do children like fast food? It’s all about advertising

children like fast food

Every parent would like his child to eat correctly and in a balanced way. That is, that he does not buy pizza in the school cafeteria, and chose vegetables and fruits filled with vitamins and microelements, chicken breast and buckwheat porridge. At the same time, modern children (at least most of them) are literally obsessed with fast food. Chips, burgers, french fries and nuggets raise much more interest than what we call “healthy food”. Why? Let’s figure it out.

According to a new American study, the problem is hidden in the logos of such companies, as:

  • McDonalds,
  • KFC,
  • Burger King.

MRI data allowed saying that children react differently to advertising images and slogans of fast food restaurants, as these visual images are “built in” in the brain area, responsible for rewarding, at the very moment when children learn self-control.

According to the Sunday Independent, to maintain the experiment integrity, researchers from the University of Missouri-Kansas City took 120 popular brands, including producers of both food products and non-food products. They used a magnetic resonance imaging scanner that controlled changes in the blood flow, which showed an increase, when the brain became more active.

Testing of children aged 10 to 14 years showed that activity becomes extremely high when children see not simply harmful food, but harmful food under a familiar brand. In other words, the same chips of an unknown brand or burger from a supermarket, which is not advertised on TV every 15 minutes, will not deliver the child the same pleasure, as a fast food sandwich, which he knows well.

Children are much more likely to choose products with familiar logos.The problem is that useful food from fast food restaurants is not shown in the advertising, so most of the products that are imposed on children are unhealthy,” said study leader Amanda Bruce.

In this sense, another study on the subject held at Tufts University is interesting. It involved 116 schoolchildren. Kids were offered three options for a snack:

  • cookies,
  • apple slices,
  • strawberry yogurt.

The vast majority of children chose a cookie. In the second phase of the experiment, the children were first explained about healthy and unhealthy food. Cookies still remained the most popular choice. However, the share of schoolchildren, who chose yogurt or apple increased noticeably.

The authors of this study, just like their colleagues from Kansas City, note that brand – that is, direct recognition – was important for children. However, they are not sure that schoolchildren blindly follow the brand, and believe that the influence of slogans such as I’m lovin’it is greatly exaggerated.

The product they offer is almost 2 times more important for schoolchildren than what is written on the packaging, and about 2.5 times more important than its price,” says the lead author Sean Cash in an interview with UPI.

Having taken all this into account, teaching a child to eat properly and thus avoid the need to lose weight later can be easier than it seems at first glance. It is enough to monitor the entire family’s menu and eat fresh and healthy foods daily. It’s not that difficult, is it?