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Children who spend more than half an hour online a day are almost twice as likely to pester their parents for junk food, a study found.

Those who spend more than three hours a day on computers, tablets and smartphones were more than four times as likely to spend their pocket money on junk food as those with limited screen time, shares Daily Mail.

These youngsters are almost 80 per cent more likely to be overweight or obese, according to research conducted by Cancer Research UK.

Experts say the findings add to growing evidence that junk-food marketing is helping to fuel rising levels of childhood obesity.

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Researchers from the University of Liverpool and Cancer Research UK’s Cancer Policy Research Centre asked almost 2,500 seven to 11-year-olds and their parents about their screen time and eating habits.

On average, children were online for 16 hours a week in addition to time spent for homework and watched 22 hours of television per week.

Each additional hour of commercial TV that children watched was linked with an increased likelihood of pestering their parents to buy products they had seen advertised.

They were four times more likely to buy chocolate and over three times more likely to buy sugary drinks if they watched more than three hours of commercial TV every day compared to youngsters who watched less.

Dr Emma Boyland, a lead researcher from the University of Liverpool, said: ‘Young children who spend more time on the Internet and watching commercial TV are more likely to pester for, buy and eat unhealthy food and drinks.

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  • Advertising does work on children and adults.

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  • Yeah, makes sense,

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  • So it’s the ads that are targeting the kids? Seems logical. We are still on ABC for kids – no ads!

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  • This is a no brainer isn’t it. If you’re not active, you’re going to pack on weight. And lots of screen time leads to mindless munching on crap food

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  • Possibly this also reflects that kids who are online a lot may also ave parents who don’t monitor ther eating habits very closely.

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  • Up to the parents to give their child junk food or not. You might chose not to have junk food at home at all. And luckily my kids have never spent their pocket money on buying (junk)food, they dafe it for more lasting things.

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  • If the kids are spending too much of their pocket money on junk food their allowance needs to be reduced. It means they are eating extra out of habit.
    There is too much junk food advertised on TV during child viewing times. Some childrens’ programs are either entirely or partly educational. Not all of the educational programs are on channels such as Channel 2 which has no “commercial” advertising.

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  • I think there has long been a connection between these two for both kids and adults.

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