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Thursday, September 23, 2021

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The study surveyed children ages 4 through 8 and found older children and those who were overweight were significantly more likely to recognize fast food restaurant logos than other food logos. The study surveyed children ages 4 through 8 and found older children and those who were overweight were significantly more likely to recognize fast food restaurant logos than other food logos.
 


Overweight Kids Readily Recognize Fast Food Logos

SDSU researchers found that 89 percent of children recognized the McDonald's logo and 86 percent recognized the Burger King logo.
By Gina Jacobs
 

New research from San Diego State University shows fast food branding is more likely to be recognized by overweight children.

The study, published in the Journal of Community Health, surveyed children ages 4 through 8 and found older children and those who were overweight were significantly more likely to recognize fast food restaurant logos than other food logos.

Media exposure and advertising

SDSU public health professor and study lead author Elva Arredondo said a plausible explanation for the higher recognition of unhealthy logos is that overweight children see more unhealthy food advertisements watching television than normal weight children, raising important questions for parents about media exposure.

"If your child is being exposed to a lot of marketing that translates directly or indirectly to a higher body mass index," Arredondo said. "Parents need to be more mindful of the pressures fast food marketing may have on their children and not always give in to their child's request."

Arredondo said the study also raises questions about the responsibility of advertisers.

"Fast food restaurants might offer healthier options but for kids, they are usually advertising the hamburger, not the salad," she said. "They also use free toys with kid's meals and cartoon characters to make their restaurants more appealing to kids. It can be hard for a parent to say no."

Other links

The study also found a link between fast food logo recognition and socio-economic levels. Children who came from lower socio-economic backgrounds were also more likely to recognize the fast food logos. This is consistent with previous research that showed children from low socio-economic households had a higher average BMI.

Children were asked to match pictures of 10 logo cards to products or fast food restaurants. The fast food logos used in the study included McDonald's, Burger King, Domino's, Carl's Jr. and Taco Bell. The other logos included healthier brands of food such as Yoplait yogurt, Minute Maid orange juice and Cheerios.

"The most commonly recognized fast food logos were that of McDonald's and Burger King's," said Arredondo.

McDonald's logo was recognized by 89 percent of the children in the study and Burger King's by 86 percent. The complete study can be found in the February 2009 issue of the Journal of Community Health.

Study co-authors

Study co-authors include SDSU's John Elder, Donald Slymen and David Dozier, as well as Diego Castaneda at Univesity of California Berkeley.