Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


High-Calorie and Low-Nutrient Foods in Kids' TV


Fruits and vegetables are often displayed in the popular Swedish children’s TV show Bolibompa, but there are also plenty of high-sugar foods. A new study from the University of Gothenburg explores how food is portrayed in children’s TV programmes as well as the link between young children’s TV viewing, dietary habits and weight status.

Steingerdur Olafsdottir’s doctoral thesis focuses on the presence of food in the popular Swedish children’s TV show Bolibompa. Healthy foods dominated in the Swedish-produced parts of the show, whereas the other parts also displayed high-calorie and low-nutrient foods. Olafsdottir analysed all foods and drinks presented in about 25 hours of material broadcasted over a period of five months, along with the context in which the food items were displayed or referred to.

Cookies, candy, ice cream
Fruits and vegetables were shown quite frequently in the show, although usually more often in the background. One out of every five food items displayed was high in calories and low in nutrients, such as cookies, candy and ice cream. These types of food were often displayed actively, by somebody eating or holding it. Moreover, they were more commonly shown together with children than with adults.
‘This means that there’s potential for a more health-promoting approach in the production of TV shows for children.’ says Olafsdottir.

Exposure to commercials
Olafsdottir also studied the connection between young children’s screen habits, dietary habits and weight status. She found an association between children’s TV viewing, in terms of both time in front of the TV and exposure to commercials, and consumption of sweet beverages. Children whose parents did not limit their exposure to TV commercials had a twice as high likelihood of drinking sweet beverages on a regular basis compared with other kids.

‘This means that it may be possible to influence children’s eating habits via their TV habits. There was also a link between TV viewing and obesity and the likelihood of increases in BMI and the waist-to-height ratio,’ says Olafsdottir.

Increased likelihood of overweight among children
The thesis is partly based on data from the European research project IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants), concerning the dietary habits and lifestyle of 2-9 year old children. Eight European countries participated during the period 2007-2010: Sweden, Estonia, Germany, Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Spain and Cyprus.
Previous research has shown that TV and computer use may increase the likelihood of overweight and poor dietary habits in children. Different mechanisms behind the links have been presented: sedentary behaviour, eating while viewing and effects of TV commercials.

Read the doctoral thesis:

For more information:
Steingerdur Olafsdottir,
Steingerdur Olafsdottir presented her doctoral thesis Television and Food in the Lives of Young Children at the Department of Food and Nutrition, and Sport Science, University of Gothenburg in April 4, 2014.

Weitere Informationen:

Torsten Arpi | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: BMI Children Department Food IDEFICS Kids Nutrition Prevention TV mechanisms sweet weight

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Network analysis shows systemic risk in mineral markets
16.11.2015 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht NIST study of Colorado wildfire shows actions can change outcomes
10.11.2015 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

Im Focus: Quantum Simulation: A Better Understanding of Magnetism

Heidelberg physicists use ultracold atoms to imitate the behaviour of electrons in a solid

Researchers at Heidelberg University have devised a new way to study the phenomenon of magnetism. Using ultracold atoms at near absolute zero, they prepared a...

Im Focus: Climate Change: Warm water is mixing up life in the Arctic

AWI researchers’ unique 15-year observation series reveals how sensitive marine ecosystems in polar regions are to change

The warming of arctic waters in the wake of climate change is likely to produce radical changes in the marine habitats of the High North. This is indicated by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Art Collection Deutsche Börse zeigt Ausstellung „Traces of Disorder“

21.10.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Harnessing a peptide holds promise for increasing crop yields without more fertilizer

25.11.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

Earth's magnetic field is not about to flip

25.11.2015 | Earth Sciences

Tracking down the 'missing' carbon from the Martian atmosphere

25.11.2015 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>