Playing online games doesn’t affect kids’ fruit consumption

01/15/2013 04:24:00 PM
Andy Nelson

Playing online video games that promote a certain food product can lead to children eating more of some kinds of food, but not necessarily fruit, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam’s Amsterdam School of Communication Research and from the Nijmegen, Netherlands-based Radboud University’s Behavioral Science Institute studies the effects online video game ads targeted at kids, also known as “advergames,” had on consumption.

Their study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that while playing advergames can convince children to eat more energy-dense snack foods, it does not lead to significantly higher fruit consumption.

Researchers studied 270 children ages 8-10. Subjects played an advergame that promoted energy-dense snacks, fruits or non-food products. They then completed questionnaires.

The researchers chose to study advergames because previous studies focused on advertising’s effects on food consumption among children focused on television advertising’s effects on energy intake of children.

“The rapidly changing food marketing landscape requires research to measure the effects of nontraditional forms of marketing on the health-related behaviors of children,” according to the study.

Bil Goldfield, communications manager for Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Fresh Fruit, had not read the study. But he said the company supports all outreach efforts to get kids to eat more produce.

Dole has created online games for its DoleSuperKids website.

“Since it is Dole’s mission to consistently advocate the benefits of increasing fruit and vegetable consumption, we value any touch points that positively promote that — especially to kids,” Goldfield said.



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