11 December 2013, Alpha Galileo, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt | Graz | Wien -- "Weight, body shape perception, self-esteem and dietary habits all contribute to how children handle food advertising. A new study suggests that overweight children, in particular, could benefit from special training, in order to increase their media skills in relation to the exposure to advertising.
“Advertising literacy”, which refers to the ability to recognise, evaluate and understand advertising, is one of the most important skills in the development of children into informed and competent consumers. Several international studies have already looked closely at the development of this ability. “Over the last 40 years, the age of a child has commonly been seen as the most critical factor in this regard”, the author of the study, Ralf Terlutter, explains.
However, significant differences frequently persisted within one age group. Terlutter describes the specific approach: “For this study, we used the influence of body weight and body shape perception, as well as the impact of dietary habits as criteria.”
There can be no question of the relevance of this study: The number of overweight or even obese children is increasing. In 2012, the WHO estimated the number at around 170 million overweight children worldwide. Most of these children consume advertising, particularly through the medium of television. Approximately 40 per cent of advertising focuses on food. Frequently, the advertised food is unhealthy, due to its high fat, salt or sugar content. ..."