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Howard Nass MD FAAP and staff.
Does our environment impact what we see,do,and even become?
Individualized Care in a Warm and Supportive Environment
For some years we have realized that are children and ourselves can be impacted both positively and negatively by what we see in the media, including both printed and electronic.
Thus the Motion Picture Association of America has a film-rating system, and many of us include filters on our computers to help guide our children's "web surfing."
Now, a first-of-its kind study finds that children consume more low-nutrition, high-calorie foods after observing plump cartoon characters.
This study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology concluded that kids ate almost twice as much candy or cookies when they saw an apparently overweight character than those exposed to a thinner cartoon character or no cartoon at all.
Generations of kids have grown up with chubby cartoon characters like Fat Albert, Winnie the Pooh and Homer Simpson -- and it may not be good for their diets.
Over the past 30 years, obesity has nearly tripled in those under 18 years old. Between 16 to 33 percent of adolescents are now obese, meaning in certain parts of the United States one in three children is obese.
Then what is the take home message?
Perhaps shielding our children from overweight cartoon characters addresses only the symptom rather than the disease.
We all need to change our culture. This includes eating together as a family with the television or computer off. Eating at home, rather than at fast food restaurants. Going for walks or exercising together as a family. We need to encourage our children to play outdoor games (heat and weather permitting), rather than on cell phones, and game consoles. Lastly, if we do our best to set good examples and live healthy lifestyles, our children will learn to do so as well, as we frequently do become and internalize what we see and observe; both inside and outside of the home.