Who would have thought that watching cartoons like the babbling Homer Simpson, adorable Winnie the Pooh and the Penguins of Madagascar, who are obsessed with ‘Cheese Dibbles’; could have an effect on your eating habits.

Well, this study claims that watching stout cartoon characters could trigger overeating in adults.

A 2011 study, conducted at the Colorado State University, found that adults are more likely to ‘give themselves a treat’ (unhealthy foods) after seeing someone who is overweight. Another factor, which could play a role, is being surrounded by chubby, obese friends could also prod you to eat unhealthy; the only way to combat this according to the study is to consistently remind yourself of your healthy diet or health goals.

As the adage goes “seeing is believing”, well it could be that ‘seeing is eating’. This might sound a ‘lil bonkers but think about it the next time you find yourself watching The Simpsons or Family Guy , see whether you nudging closer to that ‘junk food’ cupboard or thinking about that the pizza with the delicious toppings and gooey cheese.

According to Professor Campbell, who was the lead author of the study, said. “Experiments show that exposure to a negative stereotype (i.e., seeing someone overweight) can increase stereotype-conducive behaviour (i.e., eating indulgent food). Experiment 1 demonstrates increased stereotype-conducive behaviour following stereotype activation. Experiment 2 replicates this and supports the proposed mediating role of stereotype-consistent commitment to a countervailing goal (i.e., the goal to be healthy).”

We all struggle with temptation especially when it comes to food but to make it easier on yourself you should write out your health goals and paste it on the fridge of that junk food cupboard that just seems like its calling your name. Or they could just make an adult version of Popeye’s spinach-eating prowess to help you along.

A-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah-gah!” ― Popeye’s Laugh

Sources: Medical Daily, Journal of Consumer Research

Alice Paulse