Home > Lifestyle > Teen > News Updated 12 December 2013 Kids' movies send mixed messages In kids' movies depictions of sugar-sweetened beverages, exaggerated portion sizes and unhealthy snacks are common – as well as criticism of overweight. 0 iStock Related Intense TV watching rises obesity TV in bedroom ups obesity risk in kids Technology adding to worldwide obesity Ask Teen Expert » Quiz Will the relationship last? » Test Push-ups » From girl to woman From boy to man In a world where animals often take the place of humans, sugar-sweetened beverages, exaggerated portion sizes and unhealthy snacks are common. So is TV watching, computer use and video games.But this world is not kind to those who are overweight. A panda that aspires to be a martial arts master is told he'll never make it because of his "fat butt", "flabby arms" and "ridiculous belly". A chipmunk is called "fatty ratty". A donkey is called a "bloated roadside piñata" and told "you really should think about going on a diet".This is the world that's portrayed in the most popular children's movies (both live action and animated) released in the US from 2006 to 2010, according to a mixed-methods analysis performed by an ensemble cast of researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The examples cited above come from "Kung Fu Panda", "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel" and "Shrek the Third"."These children's movies offer a discordant presentation about food, exercise and weight status, glamorising unhealthy eating and sedentary behaviour yet condemning obesity itself," said Eliana M. Perrin, MD, MPH, associate professor of paediatrics in the UNC School of Medicine and corresponding author of the study, published online by the journal, Obesity.Stigmatised contentIn the study, Perrin and her co-authors analysed the top-grossing G- and PG-rated movies from 2006-2010. Four movies per year were included, for a total of 20 movies. Segments from each movie were assessed for the prevalence of key nutrition and physical behaviours corresponding to the American Academy of Paediatrics’ obesity prevention recommendations for families, prevalence of weight stigma, assessment of the segment as healthy, unhealthy or neutral and free-text interpretations.With regard to eating behaviours, the researchers found that 26% of the movie segments with food depicted exaggerated portion size, 51% depicted unhealthy snacks and 19% depicted sugar-sweetened beverages.With regard to depiction of behaviours, 40% of movies showed characters watching television, 35% showed characters using a computer and 20% showed characters playing video games.Movie segments rated as "unhealthy" by the researchers outnumbered those rated as "healthy" by 2:1, and most of the movies (70%) included weight-related stigmatising content."These popular children's movies had significant 'obesogenic' content, and most contained weight-based stigma," the study concludes. "They present a mixed message to children: promoting unhealthy behaviours while stigmatising the behaviours’ possible effects. EurekAlert More in Lifestyle Healthy diet protects teens against later weight gain More: TeenNews advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Bacteria may slow the spread of Zika Medical British babies tested for cholesterol Fitness 9 ways yoga can improve your sex life Medical Natural disasters linked to dementia Medical When your bowel movements go wrong . . . News Nerve stimulation restores sense of touch to arm amputees From our sponsors Keep an eye on your vision Which skin products are better, ‘medical grade’ or ‘over-the-counter’? Win 1 of 6 R5000 cash prizes Win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher Live healthier Exercise benefits for seniors » Working out in the concrete jungle Even a little exercise may help prevent dementia Here’s an unexpected way to boost your memory: running Seniors who exercise recover more quickly from injury or illness When sedentary older adults got into an exercise routine, it curbed their risk of suffering a disabling injury or illness and helped them recover if anything did happen to them. No relief for MS » Drug shows promise against MS in mouse study Vitamin D may slow multiple sclerosis Obesity in girls tied to higher MS risk Exercise may not lower women's risk of MS A Harvard study showed no evidence to support the idea that exercise lowers the risk of multiple sclerosis.