Do Advergames For Unhealthy Snacks Affect Children’s Eating Behavior?
Multiple studies have examined the effects of advergames promoting unhealthy foods on eating behavior among children and showed this effect, but a lack of clarity concerning the size of the effect might impede policy actions. A meta-analysis of 17 studies in Appetite shows that advergames for unhealthy snacks do indeed affect eating behavior, and that this effect is mild-to-moderate.
- Food marketers use online advergames to advertise unhealthy foods.
- These advergames increase consumption of unhealthy snacks among children and teens.
- Stricter regulation may protect children against new forms of (online) marketing techniques that promote unhealthy foods.
17 different studies
Age range: 5-17
The studies were conducted in the Netherlands, United States, Belgium, Iran, Australia, and Spain.
The researchers searched systematically for relevant articles and subsequently conducted a meta-analysis on the included studies. This enabled the researchers to quantify the existing evidence on this topic.
Facts and findings
- Most of the reviewed studies were of high quality, following the highest scientific standards (“randomized controlled trials”).
- On average these studies showed that advergames promoting unhealthy foods induced unhealthy snacking behavior among children. This effect was mild-to-moderate, meaning that advergames can only partly explain unhealthy eating behavior of children.