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'McFood' Better Than Food, Kids Say

Preschoolers Say Carrots Better When Served From McDonald's Bag

McDonald's Reaction continued...

Riker says McDonald's own research "confirms that we've earned [parents'] trust as a responsible marketer based on decades of delivering the safest food, the highest quality toys, and the kind of choice and variety today's families are looking for."

In December 2005, the prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a CDC-funded study on food marketing to children. The study found that advertisers used highly sophisticated techniques to target children who are too young to know the difference between advertising claims and truth.

As a result, the IOM study showed, companies succeed in getting children to eat ever more high-calorie, low-nutrient -- and high-profit -- junk food.

The Robinson study appears in the August issue of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. The journal last year published a series of studies linking media messages to harmful effects on children's health -- including child obesity.

Three-year-olds, one of the studies found, are three times more likely to be overweight if they spend two or more hours a day in a room with a TV on.

"Past studies have shown that the content of children's TV commercials is overwhelmingly about junk food," University of Michigan researcher Julie C. Lumeng, MD, told WebMD last year. "And if you show kids commercials, they ask for the junk food. So it may be the TV, even at this early age, is shaping their food preferences."

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