Washington: Parents please-take-note! Teenagers who watch television with commercials for more than three hours daily are twice as likely to eat more than 500 extra snacks like crisps, biscuits and fizzy drinks.
According to researchers of Cancer Research UK, the advertisements on commercial television may be driving youngsters to snack on more unhealthy food.
Regularly eating high calorie food and drink, which usually has higher levels of fat and sugar, increases the risk of becoming obese.
The findings indicated that energy and other fizzy drinks high in sugar, takeaways and chips were some of the foods which were more likely to be eaten by teenagers who watched a lot of TV with adverts.
YouGov surveyed 3,348 young people in the UK between ages 11-19 before coming out with its findings.
When teens watched TV without adverts researchers found no link between screen time and likelihood of eating more junk food.
They also found that teenagers who said they regularly streamed TV shows with ads were more than twice as likely (139 percent) to drink fizzy drinks compared to someone with low advertisement exposure from streaming TV, and 65 percent more likely to eat more ready meals than those who streamed less TV.
Lead author Dr Jyotsna Vohra said, “This is the strongest evidence yet that junk food adverts could increase how much teenagers choose to eat.”
The research suggested that reducing junk food TV marketing could help to halt the obesity crisis.
Another researcher Linda Bauld said, “Obese children are five times more likely to remain obese as adults which can increase their risk of cancer later in life.
“The food industry will continue to push their products into the minds of teens if they’re allowed to do so. The Government needs to work with Ofcom to protect the health of the next generation,” Bauld noted.