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New Yale Study: Kids Like Junk Food With Cartoon Packaging

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Tue, Jun 22, 2010 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge An unhealthy Scooby Snack
  • An unhealthy Scooby Snack
On one hand, the new Yale study that was released yesterday, proving that children think junk food tastes best coming from cartoon-friendly packaging, seems a bit obvious and unnecessary. But on the other hand, just about every news outlet in the country seemed to run a story on it.

Forty children, aged between 4 and 6 years old, were given three pairs each of graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks and carrot sticks. The pairs were identical other than the packaging, with one coming in a plain wrapper, and the other in a wrapper donning the images of Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo or Shrek. According to the study, the children preferred the taste of the cartoon packaged foods. The results were far less pronounced with the carrots, which were not shaped like cartoon characters.

But sometimes we do need studies to prove the obvious, if only to get a conversation started. The study's conclusion? "These findings suggest that the use of licensed characters to advertise junk food to children should be restricted." We should all, I would think, be able to agree on that.

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