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Food adverts increase obese children's food intake

Obese children increase their food intake by 134% after watching food advertisements on television, psychologists from University of Liverpool have shown.

Sixty children of varying weights aged between nine and 11 were shown a series of food and toy adverts followed by a cartoon. Overweight children and normal weight children ate 101% and 84% more food respectively.

The researchers also found that weight dictated which food would be eaten. Obese children consistently chose the highest fat product (chocolate), whereas overweight children chose a mix of sweets and chocolate.

Dr Jason Halford, director of the university's Kissileff human ingestive behaviour laboratory, said: "The study was particularly interesting in suggesting a strong connection between weight and susceptibility to overeating when exposed to food adverts on television."

The government introduced a ban on junk food advertising around children's television programmes in January this year.