YouTube stars 'might encourage kids to consume unhealthy snacks'

Published: May 26, 2018 11:43:57 | Updated: May 29, 2018 13:17:14

Junk food is often promoted to kids on social media

Social media stars might be encouraging children to eat more unhealthy snacks, a new study suggests.

It found children who saw popular vloggers consuming sugary and fatty snacks went on to eat 26 per cent more calories than those who did not.

The study, presented at the European Congress on Obesity, examined the responses of children to images from social media.

The findings come amid calls for tougher rules on junk food advertising.

The social media stars used in the study were Zoella, who has 10.9 million followers on Instagram, and Alfie Deyes, who has 4.6 million.

The 176 children were split into three groups and shown either pictures of the personalities promoting unhealthy snacks, healthy foods or non-food products.

The children were then offered a range of healthy and unhealthy snacks to choose from, including grapes, carrot sticks, chocolate buttons or jelly sweets.

The children who had seen the unhealthy images consumed an average of 448 calories, while the others ate just 357.

Dr Emma Boyland, one of the researchers from the University of Liverpool, said that children consider vlogggers to be "everyday people" just like their peers, reports BBC.

"They've earned a position of trust among young people and there has to be some responsibility along the line," she said.

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