References to the products and restaurants is "very subliminal, much more so than advertising on television," Anderson said. They're "wound into the culture of the movie."
There's another factor to consider about exposure to food products in movies, she said: Kids often don't just watch a film once.
Consider, for example, children watching films during long car rides. "They get hung on one DVD, and they watch it 100 times," she said.
Parents should also be aware that even if they limit their children's TV watching, advertising messages may sneak through when kids watch movies.
What to do? "Be aware of food advertising in movies and how it might affect your own behavior," said Catherine Christie, chairwoman of the department of nutrition & dietetics at the University of North Florida's Brooks College of Health. "Be careful how much high-calorie, low-nutrient food you and your children have access to and consume."
She added that movies with food products in them could also serve as an opportunity for parents to teach children how to think critically about the images they see.
In a second, related study in the same journal, University of Minnesota researchers reported that roughly one-third of overweight teens do not consider themselves to be overweight, while those teens who did see themselves as having a problem were more likely to have tried dieting or exercise to try and shed the excess pounds.
The Nemours Foundation has more on nutrition for kids.
SOURCES: Lisa A. Sutherland, Ph.D., assistant professor, pediatrics, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, N.H.; Cathe
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