Online Video Games Encourage Junk Food Consumption
Researchers at Michigan State University have been studying advergames, online video games that promote particular products, and have found that the games tend to promote junk foods to children.The team looked at hundreds of advergames played by children on food marketer websites. The study focused on 145 different websites and found a total of 439 food brands being advertised.
The majority of the games centered on high-fat, high-sugar and high-sodium products.
Lorraine Weatherspoon, a co-director of the project, said “One of the things we were concerned about was that the majority of foods that received the most interest were those that tended to be energy dense – high in calories – and not high in nutrients.
These foods typically included high-sugar snacks and cereals as well as instant or canned soups, sugar-sweetened beverages and several types of candy products.”
The games are all extremely quick and easy to play and often incorporate products’ brand names, logos, pictures and sometimes even characters into the heart of the game.
Another director of the project, Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, said “Compared to a typical TV commercial that would last maybe 30 seconds, these games are fun and engaging and children can play them for much longer periods of time.”