The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is spending almost a half million dollars to determine what children think about fat characters in movies.
Children's perceptions of "obesogenic" culture in films, or the promotion of excessive weight gain, is the subject of the $433,577 study being conducted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
The researchers have concluded that children's movies are confusing because they make fun of fat characters, while also promoting unhealthy behaviors like drinking soda and watching television.
"Children receive cultural messages about appropriate eating, exercise, and attitudes from a variety of influences, likely including family, friends, schools, religious institutions, and electronic culture (television, movies, and video games)," the grant explains. "One important source of culture in the world for children is children's movies."
The grant also claims that minority children watch more movies than others.
"Children have access to many movies and the ability to view them over and over again, contributing to significant daily exposure, more for children from minority backgrounds," it said. "These movies provide cues to normative behavior and experiences widely shared among similar-age children nationally and even worldwide."