More Great Articles!

Our free newsletter is filled with articles just like this. Sign up now and get a free PDF with 205 ways to save!

We respect your privacy and do not share or sell email addresses. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

Daily Tips That Can Change Your Life

Join our 367,482 active subscribers!

  • Daily tips to make more, spend less, and reach your goals
  • Fun-to-watch videos, easy-to-read articles
  • Get any money question answered in our forums

These are real, unsolicited comments from our readers.

Find Solutions

Get help with …

Find a new or better …

Candy Crush may seem like an innocent, fun game for your child to play, but it could lead to unhealthy eating habits.

That’s according to a new study led by Frans Folkvord, a behavioral scientist at Radboud University in the Netherlands, which found that games that contain images of food stimulate children’s appetites, leading them to eat 55 percent more candy than kids who played games without food.

“Children play a game, get hungry and reach for treats. As the cycle continues, children fail to learn healthy eating behavior,” Folkvord explains.

Find help for common financial problems in our Solutions Center!

Folkvord and his colleagues tested the eating habits of 1,000 children after they played different online games. He found that regardless of what food appeared in the game, children eat more candy afterward.

During the five-minute break after playing the food-related games, children ate 72 more calories (16 MMs or 10 candy cola bottles) than did children in the control conditions.

The study was published in the Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

Although the researchers found no link between eating sweets and having a higher BMI two years down the road, “the BMIs of children who chose to satisfy their hunger with an apple instead of with candy were lower two years later than were those of children who had chosen to satisfy their hunger with candy,” the study said.

“These children had apparently learned to make healthier choices,” Folkvord explained. He says food-based games have led to an increase in childhood obesity.

This study is also a testament to the power of advertising. According to the researchers, two-thirds of all primary-school-age children play online games that are designed to draw attention to a brand, although just 6 percent of the kids are aware that the games they are playing are really advertisements in disguise. According to Quartz:

Children are a prime target for advertising, not just by those who want to make them want things now but also by those who want to increase brand loyalty. Even though children may not be in the position to make direct purchases now, their consumption is only going to increase as they grow up. And, if caught early enough, these impressionable minds can become great brand ambassadors.

That’s why Folkvord is calling for a ban on games that are simply a cover for advertisements.

What do you think of the study linking food-related games to children developing unhealthy eating habits? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Sign up for our free newsletter

Like this article? Sign up for our newsletter and we’ll send you a regular digest of our newest stories, full of money saving tips and advice, free! We’ll also email you a PDF of Stacy Johnson’s “205 Ways to Save Money” as soon as you’ve subscribed. It’s full of great tips that’ll help you save a ton of extra cash. It doesn’t cost a dime, so why wait? Click here to sign up now.

More Money Talks News

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.