Home > Parenting > News 11 March 2013 Celeb ads encourage kids to eat junk food A study has found that celebrity endorsement of a food product encourages children to eat more of the endorsed product. 0 iStock ASK The Paediatrician » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Quiz Are you ready for a baby? » Subscribe Parenting newsletter » How to stimulate your baby How to massage a new baby A study by the University of Liverpool has found that celebrity endorsement of a food product encourages children to eat more of the endorsed product. It also found that children were prompted to eat more of the endorsed product when they saw the celebrity on TV in a different context.Celebrity endorsement is an effective method of creating value, recognition and credibility for a brand, and celebrities are frequently used in television advertising to induce children to try foods. An example of this is former England international soccer player Gary Lineker, now principally a TV sports presenter, who has been endorsing Walker's Crisps since 1995.Two bowls of crisps, different labelsThe study involved 181 children, aged between 8 and 11 years old, who were asked to watch one of three different adverts or general TV footage (Match of the Day featuring Gary Lineker as the main presenter) embedded within a 20-minute cartoon. The adverts were for Walkers crisps (featuring Gary Lineker as a celebrity endorser), a different snack food or a toy product.The children were offered two bowls of crisps to eat, one labelled "Walkers" and one labelled "Supermarket" although both bowls actually contained Walkers crisps. The amount of crisps consumed from each bowl by each child was then measured. The study found that although both bowls contained Walkers crisps, after watching the Gary Lineker advert or the general TV footage of Gary Lineker, the children ate considerably more of the Walkers crisps than the children who watched the other snack food advert or the toy advert.Celebrity endorsement powerfulDr Emma Boyland, from the Institute of Psychology, Health and Society who led the research, said: "This is the first study to show the powerful effects of celebrity endorsement - in both a TV advertising and a non-food context on the choice and intake of the endorsed snack product over the same product offered as a non-branded snack item."The study demonstrated, for the first time, that the influence of the celebrity extended even further than expected and prompted the children to eat the endorsed product even when they saw the celebrity outside of any actual promotion for the brand. It quantifies the significant influence that the celebrity has over children's brand preferences and actual consumption. "This research has consequences for the use of celebrities, and in particular sports stars, in advertising unhealthy or High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products. If celebrity endorsement of HFSS products continues and their appearance in other contexts prompts unhealthy food intake then this would mean that the more prominent the celebrity the more detrimental the effects on children's diets."The research is published in The Journal of Pediatrics. EurekAlert NEXT ON HEALTH24X Childcare workers need to follow hand-washing guidelines 2016-12-02 10:40 More: ParentingNews 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... From our sponsors Sun protection for all children Understanding your sunscreen The science behind cosmeceuticals Do you know these 5 facts about skincare? Live healthier The debate continues » Working out in the concrete jungle 7 top butt exercises for guys 10 things pole dancing can do for you The running vs. walking debate There are many different theories when it comes to the running vs. walking for health and weight loss. Veganism a crime? » Running the Comrades Marathon on a vegan diet Are vegans unnatural beasts? Can a vegan be really healthy? Should it be a crime to raise a baby on vegan food? After a number of cases of malnourishment in Italy, it may become a crime to feed children under 16 a vegan diet.