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 NEXT ON HEALTH24X Need motivation? Joel Stransky stood on the podium at the Cape Epic, a year after being in ICU 2018-04-12 10:30 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 Diet and nutrition 10 of the most extreme and dangerous weight-loss methods News ‘I feel so honoured I was able to help save his life’: Daughter donates kidney to dying father News Mysterious illness turns energetic pole dancer into a fatigued ‘gran’ News Meet the dog that’s allergic to humans Diet and nutrition Here’s exactly how to make your fast food choices healthier News KZN Health Department breaks world record for Pap smears From our sponsors WIN a R2 000 beauty voucher! Understanding diabetes self-management Fed up with the Phlemings? Let’s chat diabetes and erectile dysfunction Live healthier FYI » When the flu turns deadly Why the flu makes you feel so miserable Could a deadly flu strain hit SA this winter? Following an intense flu season in the US and UK, should we be worried about our own upcoming flu season? Alcohol and acne » Dagga vs alcohol: Which is worse? SEE: Why you are drinking more alcohol than you realise Does alcohol cause acne? Some foods can be a trigger for acne, but what about alcohol? Dermatologist Dr Nerissa Moodley weighs in.