[SÃO PAULO] Brazilian overweight children who often eat ultra-processed food such as cookies, biscuits and sausages tend to be addicted to it in the same way others are to drugs.This is the main finding of a study that analysed the eating habits of 139 overweight children between the age of nine and 11 years old from two schools in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest city.
Researchers from the Federal University of Sao Paulo found that 95 per cent of them presented at least one of seven symptoms of food addiction, while 24 per cent were diagnosed as food-addicted.
“To create a favourable environment, governments must adopt policies that lead to changes in the market, such as taxing sugary drinks, regulating marketing directed at children, and proper labelling,”
Daniela Neri, University of São Paulo
Researchers analysed global children’s television advertising exposure to healthy and unhealthy products in several developed and developing countries including Australia, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malta, Mexico, New Zealand, and Slovenia.
They found that, on average, there is four times as much advertising for foods and drink that should not be allowed on TV than for those that are allowed. The frequency of food and drink adverts that should not be permitted was also higher during peak viewing times compared with other times.