One of the causes of childhood obesity could be exposure to rotund cartoon characters, according to a dumb study led by researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Based on a study of approximately 300 kids aged 8-13, the findings published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology suggest that children tend to perceive ovoid (or egg-shaped) characters as overweight, and this in turn leads children to consume more high-calorie junk food such as cookies and candy.
“They have a tendency to eat almost twice as much indulgent food as kids who are exposed to perceived healthier looking cartoon characters or no characters at all,” said Margaret C. Campbell, marketing professor at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business and lead author of the study. “What I would like to see is companies being a lot more responsible with their own marketing choices. I think it is important for parents to know they should think about the way they might be associating food with fun for kids — in the form of exposure to cartoon characters, for instance.”