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Kids Think Food Tastes Better With McDonald's Name

Kids Think Food Tastes Better With McDonald's Name

I just found out about this fascinating study led by Dr. Thomas Robinson, the director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Packard Children's Hospital and associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Talk about serious credentials.

He had 63 children, ages 3 and 5, sample five foods: chicken nuggets, a hamburger, French fries, baby carrots and milk. The chicken nuggets, hamburger and French fries were all from McDonald's; the carrots and milk were from a grocery store.

Each food was divided into two portions: one wrapped in a McDonald's wrapper or placed in a McDonald's bag and the other in a wrapper without the McDonald's logo.

Want to know what the kids had to say about the carrots? Then

The kids thought the food branded with the McDonald's name tasted "better," even though the foods were exactly the same! Apparently kids do judge a food by its cover. That seems like early brand recognition, too early in my book.

With further investigation, Dr. Robinson found that 1/3 of these children ate at Mickey D's more than once a week, and more than 3/4 of them had McDonald's toys at home. The children had about 2-3 TVs in their homes, and more than half the kids had TVs in their rooms.

It's no wonder kids are "lovin' it" - McDonald's spends a ton of moolah advertising to kids. It's really not fair since kids don't understand the persuasive nature of advertising, and they don't realize that eating foods high in sugar and fat can cause childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and adolescent heart disease.

McDonald's responded by saying they are dealing with the problem. Hmm. Here's an idea. How about you stop advertising your unhealthy, far-from-nutritional food to kids?! Or better yet - why just advertise the healthy stuff you do sell? Oh, a mother can dream, can't she?

I do believe that parents should be monitoring what their kids eat, and teach them how to make healthy choices. If kids ages 3 and 5 years are learning to dine regularly at McDonald's, they are going to make the same choices once they are older. By then, health problems will have begun their course, and those unhealthy eating habits will be tough to break. Now is the time, when kids are young, to instill ways to eat and stay healthy.


Join The Conversation
almostloli almostloli 10 years
it's the power of branding! :o
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
My children doesn't like McDonald's, thank goodness :)
Lyv Lyv 10 years
Haha, that's really interesting. Doesn't just happen with food or young children though, let's admit it, anything from a more hyped up source will be easier to love.
curious-jane curious-jane 10 years
U mention the fact that kids don't understand the persuasive nature of advertising, but do u believe we adults are immuned to it? I know this is about kids but i'm fascinated by the power commercials have over most peoples minds from diet pills to stain removers industries invest tons of money into advertising and to basically play with our minds. So we shouldn't just think about changing things with only kids in mind i think we should force companys to be more transparent in their advertisments towards everyone.
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
how disturbing! :P
intensebandgeek intensebandgeek 10 years
pinupsweetheart pinupsweetheart 10 years
That shows how scary the power of marketing is. I am sure you could do the same thing to adults by swaping their Starbucks coffee with store bought coffee
kiwitwist kiwitwist 10 years
I agree but it isn't Mickey D's fault... it is the parents. Just because the kids want it doesn't mean you give it to them.
Lanii Lanii 10 years
I'm sorry but I don't there's an issue here. They're kids! Of course they think something tastes better if it has McDs on it. It's like those cereal commercials where the one little boy has to convince the other little boy that it's yummy, not just good for you. Can anyone here convince me that, if calories were equal, you'd rather have CARROTS over fries or a Big Mac???? McD's won't kill your kids or teach them bad habits. That's not McD's responsibility - they don't have any responsibility other than to make the food and facilities up to health codes. PARENTS are the ones who need to teach their kids good eating habits. PARENTS shouldn't take their kids through the drive through two and three times a week. These are kids 3-5 years old! Who's buying McDonald's for them? Or worse, telling them it's a treat so as to make it seem special and more enticing? Let's be serious, here. The responsibility is all on us. Just like everything else in life:)
Kate-Marie Kate-Marie 10 years
Wow, that's sad and sort of scary. I so rarely eat fast food these days, I doubt I'll be a parent who frequently stops at McDonald's for my future children. My own parents have always been big on home-cooked and healthy meals and I'd like to be the same.
mizz_jennii mizz_jennii 10 years
Not surprised. What's sickening is watching an overweight toddler/child throwing a tantrum at a food court for an ice cream sundae after finishing off a Big Mac meal, and the parents give in. True story. I remember when going to McD's was a TREAT! I definately agree, teaching kids to eat healthy at an early age is the best thing to do.
lickety-split lickety-split 10 years
here's one for you. we don't have tv, haven't had it for over 6 1/2 years. but my 6 and 8 year olds found out that there is a contest with "dannon danimals" (less than 4 oz milk type drink that we have NEVER had in our home). at the grocery store the other day they were looking for this stuff and we ran into a girl from my 6 year's class. that girl and her mother were looking for the same thing and when i went to where she pointed on the shelf 2 girls about the same age as mine explained the contest to me "win a party with troy from high school musical". how does this information get out to little kids??? btw, the drinks are so bad no one will drink them, lol.
Marci Marci 10 years
McDonald's must put drugs or something into their kids meals because my nieces and nephews are like addicts. They can spot those golden arches from miles away and start whining like junkies.
alexlove alexlove 10 years
Can't blame McDonald's, they're out there to make money. It's up to the parents.
girlboy girlboy 10 years
sick status
cuttygary cuttygary 10 years
meaghan07 meaghan07 10 years
It's so sad, kay I work at a Mcdonalds and you'd be amazed at the parents who come in with their children and let them get big mac meals. I see soo many people with they're kids on a regular bases and get the most possible stuff like letting them change the drink for a milkshake and getting normal meals super sized and these kids are honestly like 10 and under!
kiddylnd kiddylnd 10 years
My 9 year old saw this on the news yesterday and said "EWWWW McDonalds food is gross!" I love that about him!
Pinkgirl88 Pinkgirl88 10 years
i know its hard to say if youu aren't a mom --- but i can't see giving my kids fastfood more than once a month. i suffered from an eating disorder so i would never stigmatize food or forbid my kids from eating something BUT... i can't see putting that crap in my child's body.
Mainly-Obsessed Mainly-Obsessed 10 years
While it does seem scary, it's not like we didn't know it already. Millions of companies (not just McDonalds) make their fortune by advertising to children (some as benign as soap companies). So, I can't blame McDonald's personally for being a business and doing what businesses do. I do think that it's the parents who need to instill healthy values in their kids! Just because they won't change doesn't mean we can't.
rlveronica rlveronica 10 years
That's a good one! I'm not surprised though. Kids feed into peer pressure and when kids see mcd's ads everywhere... well, it's easy to feed into it.
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