Food Packaged with Toys: An Investigation on Potential Obesogenic Effects in Indian Children
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To investigate, in a large pan Indian sample of school children, whether gadgets (toys) added to food increase food consumption, and if contemporary exposure to TV and/or advertising is a further promoting factor.
A total of 1,680 Indian children were first randomized to food exposure with or without toy and then to a five-level exposure to TV viewing and advertising according to a 2 × 5 full factorial ad libitum eating design study. The sample size was computed to detect a difference of 20 Kcal of caloric intake (assuming the same standard deviation of 20 Kcal in both groups) between “food with gadget” (Toy) and “food alone” (No Toy) groups in each level of the exposure to TV and advertising factor, given an alpha error equal to 0.05 and a power of 0.90.
Mean caloric intake both in “Toy” and “No Toy” group was around 223 Kcal. When considering exposure to TV and advertising, mean values varied negligibly between 222 and 225 Kcal. According to linear models for the effect of gadget and exposure to TV and/or advertising on children’s intake, no significant adjusted associations were found, neither as main effects nor as interactions.
Food consumption by children is not influenced by the presence of added toys, even after adjustment for several potential confounding factors. The city where they live and age significantly influences Indian children’s caloric intake.