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Social Media May Sway Kids To Eat More Cookies and Calories

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

Patti Neighmond, March 4, 2019. NPR News

Summarized by: Sonia Bhutra

Children who see social media influencers promote unhealthy snacks are more likely to make poor dietary choices themselves. Researchers at the University of Liverpool in the U.K randomly assigned children to view mock Instagram profiles of influencers promoting healthy snacks, unhealthy snacks, or non-food products. Children exposed to marketing of unhealthy foods increased their overall calorie intake, whereas those exposed to healthy food or non-food marketing showed no such increase. These findings are particularly important considering recent studies have revealed that at least half of children ages 8-11 use Instagram, and many more access content on YouTube. It is essential that health care providers discuss and guide patients towards making healthier food choices, as consumption of junk food can increase risk of many health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, caries, and periodontal disease.

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