Overweight Cartoon Characters Made Kids Eat Worse Says Study

July 14, 2015

Kids eat more junk food after watching seemingly overweight cartoon characters, according to a new study from the business schools at University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado State University.

Researchers found that the children they survey, aged 6 to 14, applied human body standards to cartoons creatures, lead author Margaret C. Campbell told CSU's Source

Kids who saw the overweight cartoons had "a tendency to eat almost twice as much indulgent food compared to kids who are exposed to perceived healthier-looking cartoon characters or no characters at all,” Campbell explained. And that tendency persisted when there was an healthy weight and overweight character on the screen. 

One bright spot of the study: When kids had an opportunity to "recall health knowledge," the impulse to eat low-nutrition, high-calorie food lessened.