Turn TV off for kids to eat healthy | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Turn TV off for kids to eat healthy

If your children are demanding French fries, candy and cola, it could have a lot to do with TV shows they watch.

mumbai Updated: Jul 07, 2010 02:11 IST
Radhika Raj

If your children are demanding French fries, candy and cola, it could have a lot to do with TV shows they watch.

A study by television channel What’s On India found that processed foods advertisements are flooding children’s channels. Another study by the Diabetes Foundation of India found such ads boost demand by up to 54 per cent among their audiences, raising incidences of childhood obesity and early onset diabetes.

Prime time (4 pm to 6 pm) animated shows on Hungama, Nickelodeon, Disney and Pogo air the most such ads, according to the study, which was based on data from Television Audience Measurement (TAM). These channels aired a total of 44,887 processed food ads in April alone. HT independently verified the data with TAM.

“Children who are bombarded with such marketing messages demand processed foods, which can lead to lethargy, diabetes and obesity,” said nutritionist Hira Mahajan.

Added psychiatrist Varkha Chulani: “Kids are easy targets. You get a popular celebrity or a dancing cartoon to gobble unhealthy food and kids are bound to demand it.”

For parents, this worsens the struggle to ensure their kids eat healthily. “I’m trying to feed my son chapattis,” says Falguni Shah (35), whose son Sahil (12) is hooked to Hungama, “but he’s seeing chips and cola on TV all the time, and that’s all he wants.”