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Kids’ movies promote poor diet and stigmatize obesity

As innocent as children’s movies may seem to be, new research investigated whether or not they promote positive attitudes toward healthful food and the issues surrounding obesity. However, the opposite seems to be the case.

A new study assesses attitudes to food and obesity in children’s movies.

Childhood obesity is a growing problem. Recent studies have discovered that 32 percent of 2–19-year-olds are overweight, and 17 percent are obese.

Some estimate that by 2025, around 268 million children aged 5–17 will be overweight, globally. This is a huge public health concern.

There are many factors involved in the weight gain we see in children in the United States, and these include parenting style, peer influence, advertising, and the fact that we are more sedentary now than we have ever been.

Another factor that has consistently been linked with obesity is screen time. The length of time that a child spends looking at a screen is associated with a greater body mass index (BMI).

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Screen time, BMI, and movie content

The link between screen time and BMI may be due to several factors: advertising; “mindless” eating while watching shows; and because it replaces physical activities. A new study — published in the journal Pediatrics — looks at another possible factor: the way that movies influence perceptions of body image and diet.

The study asks how frequently obesity-promoting content and weight-stigmatizing messages appeared in children’s movies.

It is not yet clear if or how these types of depictions affect children who view them. But earlier work has shown that exposure to sexual themes and depictions of Article source:

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