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Obesity and Pictures of Food

Posted at: 12/04/2012 9:53 AM

The struggle against overweight youngsters, is high on the public health agenda. A new study may help experts understand the problem. ABC's Dr. Timothy Johnson has more in this Medical Report.

The eyes are the window to the soul goes the old saying, and that may be true for the stomach as well.

A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics finds that obese children take greater pleasure in just looking at food.

Scientists studied ten obese children and ten children of healthy weight. They used an MRI to look at their brains as they were shown pictures of food and non-food items.

The obese kids showed greater activity in the pleasure centers of the brain while looking at food images. While the healthy-weight children showed increased brain activity in the regions associated with self-control.

This may make some overweight kids more susceptible to the $10 billion in food advertising directed each year at children.

About 98% of food and drink marketed to kids on TV are high in fat, sugar, or salt.