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So that’s why children love burger and chips: Fast-food logos are ‘branded’ on their brains, claims study

  • Appetite and pleasure centres light up when  shown advertising images
  • ‘Majority of foods marketed to children are  unhealthy’ says scientist

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED:10:00 EST, 23  September 2012| UPDATED:11:05 EST, 23 September 2012

 

Parents have long suspected their children  are brainwashed by adverts on television when it comes to food.

Now new research claims the logos of  companies like McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Burger King are ‘branded’ on the  youngsters’ brains.

MRI scans of children’s appetite and pleasure  centres reveals they light up when they are shown advertising images of their  favourite fast foods, according to scientists.

Eating out Customers at a McDonald's store tuck in. Health chiefs say fast food is high in calories, sugar, fat and salt 

Eating out Customers at a McDonald’s store tuck in.  Health chiefs say fast food is high in calories, sugar, fat and salt

But when the logos were well-known brands but  had nothing to do with food the same areas of the brain failed to  respond.

High Street fast food outlet Burger king 

High Street fast food outlet Burger king

The study will worry health chiefs  because the fast-food outlets which  dominate UK High Streets serve up food high in salt, sugar, fat and  calories.

They appear to have tapped into the ‘reward’  areas of the brain which develop before youngsters learn  self-control.

Researcher at at  the University of Missouri-Kansas City and the University of Kansas Medical  Center, divided 120 popular food  and non-food brands, including McDonald’s and  Rice Krispies, and BMW and FedEx, reported the Sunday  Independent.

They used a magnetic resonance imaging  scanner which monitored changes in  the blood flow that increases when the brain  becomes more active.

Analysis of the tests on children, aged 10 to  14, showed there was increased activity in parts of the brain in the ‘reward’  centres and in driving and controlling appetite.

Study leader Dr Amanda Bruce told the  Independent: ‘Research has shown children are more likely to choose those foods  with familiar logos.

‘That is concerning because the majority of  foods marketed to children are unhealthy.’

Last year children,aged six to 13, took part  in research into the effect of exposure to TV ads for unhealthy food  products.

The children were shown 10 advertisements for  junk food and then asked to choose between three food options which were  described as ‘high fat, high carbohydrate’, ‘high protein,’ and ‘low energy.’

Options for high protein included items like  roast chicken. The low energy ones included items like salad.

The children were then shown a series of ten  advertisements for toys and presented with a similar  questionnaire.

Results of the study suggest that children  exposed to unhealthy food ads – as opposed to toy ads – are far more likely to  show unhealthy eating preferences.

These effects were especially pronounced  among study subjects who typically watched more than 21 hours of TV per  week.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2207446/So-thats-children-love-burger-chips-Fast-food-logos-branded-brains-claims-study.html#ixzz27K6xMmHc Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

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