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June 21, 2019 Friday 02:25:25 PM IST

Strategy to curtail junk food

Teacher Insights

In a bid to fight obesity, public-health researchers have been trying for decades to find a way to convince teenagers to skip junk food and eat healthily, to little avail. One of the biggest obstacles is the enormous volume of food marketing kids are exposed to every day. Now, a new study from the University Of Chicago Booth School Of Business finds that a simple method can provide lasting protection for adolescents against harmful effects of food marketing.The method works in part by tapping into teens' natural desire to rebel against authority.

The researchers went into classrooms and had one group of students read a fact-based, exposé-style article on big food companies, describing deceptive product labels and advertising practices that target vulnerable populations, including children. A separate, control group of students received traditional material on benefits of healthy eating.Theresearchers found that the group that read the exposés chose fewer junk food snacks and selected water over sugary sodas the next day. 

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