Study in ARG, MEX and Brazil finds inclusion of toys in food packages does not increase consumption


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In a study entitled “Investigating the obesogenic effects of marketing snacks with toys: an experimental study in Latin America”, the behaviour of 600 children aged 3-10 was analysed to determine the influence of toys packaged with food on children's consumption. Contrary to common belief, the inclusion of toys was not shown to lead to an increase in the caloric intake of children.

Children from Argentina, Brazil and Mexico were divided into groups and exposed to food (a chocolate snack) alone or food associated with toys in an experimental setting. In addition, the children were randomized into two groups and either shown or not shown a movie cartoon, with three different levels of exposure to commercials in the TV viewing condition (1, 2 or 3 advertisements).

The main finding was that there was no difference in consumption between the 'toys' and 'no toys' groups thus the "inclusion of toys in food packages was not shown per se to lead to an increase in calorific intake of children."

Furthermore those exposed to the ads "showed no effect, even at an increasing level of exposure, on energy intake in any of the observed countries."

The full study, published in July 2013 in the Nutrition Journal, is available here.

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