My Topics

28 January 2019

Do Advergames For Unhealthy Snacks Affect Children’s Eating Behavior?

Multiple studies have examined the effects of advergames promoting unhealthy foods on eating behavior among children and showed this effect, but a lack of clarity concerning the size of the effect might impede policy actions. A meta-analysis of 17 studies in Appetite shows that advergames for unhealthy snacks do indeed affect eating behavior, and that this effect is mild-to-moderate.

Take aways

  • Food marketers use online advergames to advertise unhealthy foods.
  • These advergames increase consumption of unhealthy snacks among children and teens.
  • Stricter regulation may protect children against new forms of (online) marketing techniques that promote unhealthy foods.

Study information

  • Who?

    17 different studies 

    Age range: 5-17

  • Where?

    The studies were conducted in the Netherlands, United States, Belgium, Iran, Australia, and Spain.

  • How?

    The researchers searched systematically for relevant articles and subsequently conducted a meta-analysis on the included studies. This enabled the researchers to quantify the existing evidence on this topic. 

Facts and findings

  • Most of the reviewed studies were of high quality, following the highest scientific standards (“randomized controlled trials”). 
  • On average these studies showed that advergames promoting unhealthy foods induced unhealthy snacking behavior among children. This effect was mild-to-moderate, meaning that advergames can only partly explain unhealthy eating behavior of children.