Exposure to social media platforms can make children develop eating disorder among children making the job even tougher for parents. Photo sharing platforms showcase unhealthy snack images that make children more inclined towards consumption of more calories, giving rise to several health issues like obesity. This study was published in the Pediatrics journal.
“The results are supported by celebrity endorsement data, which show unhealthy food endorsements increase children’s unhealthy food intake, but healthy food endorsements have little or no effect on healthy food intake,” noted researcher Anna Coate from the University of Liverpool.
The study’s aim was to examine the effect of social media marketing of snacks (healthy and unhealthy) on children’s diet and intake level. The study was made by studying 176 children between ages 9 and 11 years. They were divided into three random groups and shown artificially created, but realistic, Instagram pages of popular vloggers.
One vlogger had images of unhealthy snacks, one had healthy snacks and the other had non-food products.
“Young people trust vloggers more than celebrities so their endorsements may be even more impactful and exploitative,” added Coate.
“Tighter restrictions are needed around the digital marketing of unhealthy foods that children are exposed to, and vloggers should not be permitted to promote unhealthy foods to vulnerable young people on social media,” she said.