Life Wellbeing Junk food savvy kids have higher BMI

Junk food savvy kids have higher BMI

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The more your kids know about fast food brands the more likely they are to be overweight, a study reveals.

The relationship between brand knowledge and body mass index (BMI) is “quite robust”, says the report by two US universities.

Researchers tested children aged three to five on their knowledge of various brands – including their ability to identify items such as golden arches and a king’s crown – and found that those who could identify them the most tended to have higher BMIs.

Childhood obesity as one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The number of overweight children in Australia has doubled in recent years, with a quarter of children considered overweight or obese.

One of the main causes of obesity in children include unhealthy food choices, including choosing high fat and sugary foods instead of healthier options.

University of Oregon professor and co-author of the paper, Bettina Cornwell, said the findings provide more insight into children’s “first language of food”.

“As early as three years of age, kids are developing a sense of what food means to them.”

The children were tested by being given pictures of unhealthy food-related logos. They then were given pictures of food items, packaging and cartoon characters and asked to match the items with their corresponding brand logos.

“Some kids knew very little about the brands while others knew them exceptionally well,” said co-author Anna McAlister from Michigan State University.