Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Some video games promote unhealthy foods for kids

Date:
October 7, 2013
Source:
Michigan State University
Summary:
Not only do some online video games promote a less-than-active lifestyle for children, the content of some of these games also may be contributing to unhealthy diets. A team of researchers took a closer look at what are called advergames and found they have a tendency to promote foods that are chock full of fat, sugar and sodium.

Not only do some online video games promote a less-than-active lifestyle for children, the content of some of these games also may be contributing to unhealthy diets.

A team of Michigan State University researchers took a closer look at what are called advergames and found they have a tendency to promote foods that are chock full of fat, sugar and sodium.

An advergame is defined as an online video game that promotes a particular product, service or company by integrating it into the game, and is typically offered for free.

The researchers located hundreds of advergames actively played by children on food marketer websites. For the study, they focused on 145 different websites and found 439 food brands being promoted through advergames on those sites.

What they found was that many of the games centered around high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium products.

"One of the things we were concerned about was that the majority of foods that received the most interest were those that tended to be energy dense -- high in calories -- and not high in nutrients," said Lorraine Weatherspoon, a co-director of the project and an associate professor of food science and human nutrition. "These foods typically included high-sugar snacks and cereals as well as instant or canned soups, sugar-sweetened beverages and several types of candy products."

The games are quick and easy to play. They use brand names, logos, pictures of the product and even a spokescharacter as a part of the game.

"Compared to a typical TV commercial that would last maybe 30 seconds, these games are fun and engaging and children can play them for much longer periods of time," said Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, project co-director and assistant professor of advertising and public relations.

The researchers noted there are no consistent standards for what can or cannot be marketed to children and how the marketing should be done.

"We firmly believe that some kind of federally mandated policy needs to be addressed, so that there is better control on the type and amount of marketing as well as the kinds of foods that are promoted," Weatherspoon said.

The researchers would ultimately like to see healthy eating promoted through advergames.

"We hope that we can translate the use of engaging entertaining online tactics like this to teach healthy eating and other healthy lifestyle behaviors to kids," Quilliam said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Michigan State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lorraine J. Weatherspoon, PhD, RD; Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, PhD; Hye-Jin Paek, PhD; Sookyong Kim, MS; Sumathi Venkatesh, MS; Julie Plasencia, MS, RD; Mira Lee, PhD; Nora J. Rifon, PhD. Consistency of Nutrition Recommendations for Foods Marketed to Children in the United States, 2009–2010. Preventing Chronic Disease, October 2013

Cite This Page:

Michigan State University. "Some video games promote unhealthy foods for kids." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007151742.htm>.
Michigan State University. (2013, October 7). Some video games promote unhealthy foods for kids. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007151742.htm
Michigan State University. "Some video games promote unhealthy foods for kids." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131007151742.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

Ebola Doctor Says Border Controls Critical

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) A Florida doctor who helped fight the expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa says the disease can be stopped, but only if nations quickly step up their response and make border control a priority. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Global Ebola Aid Increasing But Critics Say It's Late

Newsy (Sep. 21, 2014) More than 100 tons of medical supplies were sent to West Africa on Saturday, but aid workers say the global response is still sluggish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins