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Categories > Children’s Health > Growth and development

Nonreality TV ads

You may already feel that the TV shows your kids regularly watch don’t accurately depict the real world. But the commercials, too, are messing with your kids’ perception of reality. The more food commercials young children see on TV, the more difficulty they have determining which foods are good for them, says a study in the journal Health Communication. Researchers asked 134 children in first, second and third grades to select which foods were more nutritious. Foods advertised as “diet” or “fat free” caused greater confusion, as children mistakenly believed these were healthier. When presented with diet soda versus orange juice, or fat-free ice cream versus cottage cheese, children were more likely to choose the wrong food than when presented with choices without those labels.