Kids who could identify golden arches and other junk food logos had higher BMIs than their brand-ignorant peers, researchers found.
A new study shows that young children who are familiar with unhealthy food branding—McDonald’s golden arches, Trix’s silly rabbit, Burger King’s crown—are more likely to be overweight than their brand-ignorant peers. Studies show that people who are overweight in childhood tend to stay that way.
The researchers tested two groups of three- to five-year-olds on their knowledge of fast food and processed food brands like McDonald’s, Burger King, Coke, Pepsi, Fritos, and Doritos. They found that those who could correctly identify the sugar-and-grease-mongering logos tended to have higher body mass indexes (BMIs). “We found the relationship between brand knowledge and BMI to be quite robust,” said Anna McAlister, an MSU assistant professor of advertising and public relations who was a member of the research team.
In other words, if advertising works well, it works too well.