Television commercials for fast food and unhealthy snacks are contributing to the worldwide increase in levels of obesity, according to a new study from the World Health Organization.

“Part of the consistent and strong relationship between television viewing and obesity in children may relate to the food advertising to which they are exposed,” argued the report, which was compiled by a group of independent scientists.

The study points out that ‘junk’ food is backed by huge ad budgets. The resulting commercials are aimed at children with the intention of invoking ‘pester power’ to sway parents’ purchasing decisions.

Rising obesity is also attributed to the high sugar content in soft drinks, insufficient exercise and diets containing high levels of saturated fat and refined carbohydrates.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff