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Diet & Health : Children & Women Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

Fast food TV ad raises overweight risk
By Sue Mueller
Nov 24, 2008 - 9:00:15 AM

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Monday Nov 24, 2008 ( -- A new study published this month in the journal of law and economics suggests that fast food TV advertising may increase the risk of overweight in children.


The study finds if fast food advertisements are banned, the number of overweight children would drop as much as 18 percent.


The same study also reveals that eliminating the tax deductibility associated with television advertising would lead to a smaller reduction of childhood obesity.


For the study, Shin-Yi Chou from the National Bureau of Economic Research of Lehigh University and colleagues measured the number of hours of fast food television advertising messages presented to children on a weekly basis.


A ban on fast food TV ads during children's programming would cut the number of overweight children age 3 to 11 by up to 18 percent and also would lower the number overweight teens ages 12 to 18 by 14 percent.


The effect would be more significant among males than females.


So far only Sweden Norway and Finland have banned commercial sponsorship of children's programs.


Revoking of tax deductibility on advertisement would similarly result in a decline in childhood obesity although the effect was smaller (5 to 7 percent) compared to the ban on fast food TV ads.


Currently expenses for TV advertising can be considered a business expense and can be used to reduce the company's taxable income.


Based on the current corporate income tax rate of 35 percent, the elimination of the deductibility of fast food advertising costs would be equivalent to an increase of the ad price by 54 percent.


By eliminating tax deductibility, exposure to ad messages would be reduced by 40 percent for children and 33 percent for adolescents.

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