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Facebook pushing kids to hop onto junk foodwagon: Study

Facebook pushing kids to hop onto junk foodwagon: Study

Sydney: If your growing kid cannot think beyond junk food like burgers or pizza to satiate his/her hunger pangs, blame Facebook.

According to a study, social media websites are significantly contributing towards marketing junk food to teenagers.

Researchers from the University of Sydney in Australia analysed how food that was nutritionally poor was marketed on social media sites and focused on the audience that was most likely to be engaged with marketing of this kind.

They looked at the Facebook pages of 27 high-ranked food and beverage brands.

They found that companies that sold foods that are poor in nutrients and energy-dense, attracted young adults and teenagers on social media sites.

The study also revealed that company content was being shared increasingly by those Facebook users who had high engagement with unhealthy food firms.

"The engagement from Facebook users was high when these food companies ran contests or competitions or associated their products with positive events," said lead researcher Becky Freeman.

By using the interactive and social aspects of Facebook to market products, energy-dense and nutrient-poor food brands capitalise on users' social networks and magnify the reach and personal relevance of their marketing messages, the researchers concluded.

The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

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