Affiliations: [a] ZETA Research Ltd, Trieste, Italy
| [b] Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiology, Thoracic and Vascular Sciences, University of Padova, Italy
Corresponding author: Prof. Dario Gregori, Unit of Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Public Health, Department of Cardiology, Thoracic, and Vascular Sciences, Via Loredan 18, 35121 Padova (PD), Italy. Tel.: +39 049 8275384; Fax: +02 700445089; E-mail: [email protected].
Abstract: OBJECTIVE:The consumption of fruits and vegetables is important for a healthy lifestyle. The intake of fruits and vegetables is recommended to be at least 5 portions/per day, but currently, less than 15% of children between the ages of 4–8 years reach that consumption level. How to promote and increase fruit consumption in children is still an open issue. This study aimed to experimentally assess the efficacy of intense pro-fruit advertising on actual consumption in children during snacking. STUDY DESIGN:The study was conducted on 12 children (ages 6–10 years) exposed to a 9-minute movie containing a total of 3.30 minutes of advertising (25% of the total time). Advertising was classified as healthy if the message focused on fruit and vegetable consumption and as unhealthy if it focused on hypercaloric foods. Children were randomized to have equicaloric snacks of apples in slices (packaging of 80 grams) or chips (25 grams) in four groups of three children each: fruit-healthy ads, fruit-unhealthy ads, chips-healthy ads, and chips-unhealthy ads. RESULTS:No significant differences (p = 0.762) were found regarding kcal intake deriving from fruit consumption among the group exposed to chip advertising (20.20 kcal mean difference, 95% C.I. 1.01–32.93). Overall, children had a higher consumption of chips (11.35 grams, 0–22.86) than fruit (0 grams, 0.00–44.91). CONCLUSIONS:Even an intense exposure to TV advertising for fruits and vegetables did not increase the consumption of fruit during snack time. More innovative approaches may be necessary to stimulate the intake of fruits and vegetables in children.