GOTHENBURG, Sweden, June 11 (UPI) — A Swedish researcher found television ads used health arguments to market non-healthy foods to children.
Hillevi Prell, a student a the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, analyzed 200 hours of television broadcasts aimed at children and found ads dominated by fast-food, alcohol, chocolate, sweets and sweet drinks. Moreover, many unhealthy products — such as hamburger meals, chips and high-fat dairy products — were marketed as helping to treat or protect against illness, giving an emotional boost or showing care for others.
Overall, physical, mental or social health were referred to in 71 percent of the commercials analyzed, Prell found.
However, Prell and colleagues also found school initiatives could succeed in getting a simple health message across to students such as “eat fish.”
School staff learned how to present and market fish cooked in a variety of ways with healthy accompaniments, and taught pupils about the nutritional value of fish, giving them the opportunities to cook some fish dishes. The result was a significant increase in student fish consumption, Prell said.
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