EACH extra junk food TV ad seen by kids in a week adds 18,000 calories a year to their diet – the equivalent of 69 Mars Bars.
The Cancer Research UK study reveals every additional commercial watched by children – above the weekly average of six ads – boosts consumption of unhealthy food.
Getty – Contributor Junk food ads encourage kids to eat 18,000 more calories a year
Scientists claim exposure to just one more advert can result in up to 5lb weight gain.
One in three kids now leaves primary school overweight or obese.
Being too heavy increases the chances of type 2 diabetes, liver, heart disease and several common cancers.
Presenting the data at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, lead researcher Dr Jyotsna Vohra, said her findings show a clear link between advertising and weight gain.
Getty – Contributor Just one junk food ad a week can add 5lbs to your kid’s waistline
Dr Vohra, the head of the Cancer Policy Research Centre, said: “Junk food marketing is associated with obesity in young people of all ages, and we know that obesity is linked to at least 13 types of cancer.
“The food industry wouldn’t pump hundreds of millions into advertising their products by creating catchy adverts if it didn’t get people to eat more.”
Cancer Research UK is one of several charities calling for junk food adverts to be scrapped before 9pm.
Getty – Contributor Being obese puts your kids at a greater risk for type 2 diabetes later in life
The ads are already banned from kids’ programmes, but can still be shown during family-friendly broadcasts such as reality TV shows and sport.
The research is the largest of its kind, and involved more than 3,300 children and teenagers between the ages of 11 and 19.
They were all asked about adverts for products high in salt, sugar and fat.
Participants watched an average 21 hours of television a week, including six junk food commercials.
They reported scoffing around 30 unhealthy snack items weekly.
But seeing just one extra advert significantly boosted their calorie intake from unhealthy items by 350 a week.