Social media can raise children's unhealthy snack intake

04 July 2018

Research from the University of Liverpool has highlighted the negative influence that social media can have on children’s food intake.

A PhD student from the Appetite and Obesity research group examined the effect of social media marketing of snack foods – healthy and unhealthy – on children’s snack intake.

A group of 176 nine- and 10-year-olds were shown fake but realistic Instagram pages of popular vloggers.

Children who saw the vlogger with unhealthy snacks went on to consume 32% more kcals from unhealthy snacks, and 26% more kcals in total compared with the control group of children who saw the vlogger with non-food items. For children who saw the vlogger with healthy snacks there was no significant difference in the food they chose or how many calories they consumed.

Anna Coates, who presented her work at the European Congress on Obesity, said: ‘Young people trust vloggers more than celebrities so their endorsements may be even more impactful and exploitative. Tighter restrictions are needed.’

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