-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Popular children's
movies, from "Kung Fu Panda" to "Shrek the Third," contain mixed
messages about eating habits and obesity, a new study says.
Many of these animated and live-action movies are guilty of
"glamorizing" unhealthy eating and inactivity, while at the same
time condemning obesity, according to study corresponding author
Dr. Eliana Perrin, an associate professor of pediatrics at the
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
She and her colleagues analyzed 20 top-grossing G- and PG-rated
movies from 2006 to 2010. Clips from each movie were examined for
their depictions of eating, physical activity and obesity.
The findings show that many popular children's movies "present a
mixed message to children: promoting unhealthy behaviors while
stigmatizing the behaviors' possible effects," the researchers
Among the movie segments that included eating, 26 percent
featured exaggerated portion sizes, 51 percent included unhealthy
snacks and 19 percent included sugar-sweetened beverages, according
to the study published online Dec. 6 in the journal
In terms of activity, 40 percent of the movies showed characters
watching television, 35 percent featured characters using
computers, and 20 percent showed characters playing video
Unhealthy movie segments outnumbered healthy ones by two to one,
according to the researchers. They also found that nearly
three-quarters of the films included negative weight-related
For instance, a panda who wants to be a martial arts master is
told he can't because of his "fat butt," "flabby arms" and
"ridiculous belly." And a donkey is referred to as a "bloated
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers advice on
eating for children.
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