Top

How do kids get their parents to buy junk food?

How do your kids convince you to buy unhealthy items at the grocery store?  Sugary cereals, candy and fatty snacks somehow find a way into shopping carts.  Once they are in the home it is tough to encourage kids to eat something else.

So, how do your kids convince you to toss in the treats? Do your kids nag you until you buy it?  A new study looks at that very question.

The study

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health examined what they call the “Nag Factor.”  It’s those moments in the grocery store where your child is begging you to put some snack or goodie in the cart.  Does marketing play a role?  Is it because kids are bombarded with cartoon images and commercials about these products?  Does that prompt them to beg and parents to bend?

The answer

“As researchers continue to investigate factors influencing the childhood obesity epidemic, attention often turns towards the marketing and consumption of junk food,” said Dina Borzekowski, EdD, EdM, MA, senior author of the study and an associate professor with the Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “Clearly, children are not the primary shoppers in the households, so how do child-oriented, low-nutrition foods and beverages enter the homes and diets of young children? Our study indicates that while overall media use was not associated with nagging, one’s familiarity with commercial television characters was significantly associated with overall and specific types of nagging. In addition, mothers cited packaging, characters, and commercials as the three main forces compelling their children to nag.”

The future

Researchers believe this study will allow others to suggest more areas of study in this field while at the same time keeping parents aware of the effects of nagging can have on their children’s overall health.