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Cartoon Characters in Children’s Series: Gender Disparities in Body Weight and Food Consumption

Laboratory of Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics, Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Harokopio University of Athens, 17671 Athens, Greece
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Received: 23 December 2020 / Revised: 17 January 2021 / Accepted: 28 January 2021 / Published: 1 February 2021
(1) Background: Media play a significant role in forming audience perceptions about physical external appearance and food consumption patterns. It has been reported that children’s cartoons project slimness, and concomitantly consumption of poor nutritional quality food. However, data on the role of gender in this respect are lacking; thus, this was the aim of the present study. (2) Methods: 100 episodes of the 10 most popular cartoon series were analyzed. Characters’ body weight status was classified into underweight, normal weight and overweight, and foods consumed as core (e.g., fruit, vegetables) and non-core (e.g., sweets, snacks). Messages about characters’ attractiveness were recorded and classified according to their body weight status and gender. (3) Results: Out of 37 protagonists, 12 were female figures (32%), while out of the 10 thin protagonists, 7 were females (70%) and only 3 males (30%). Thin heroines were the recipients of the majority of the messages connotative to physical attractiveness (36 out of 58 messages). However, consumption of core and non-core foods did not differ within genders (core: z = −1.526, p = 0.127, non-core: z = −0.417, p = 0.667). (4) Conclusions: Females seem to be underrepresented in cartoon series but receive the majority of the comments related to physical appearance, with most of them addressing the attractiveness of a thin figure. View Full-Text
Keywords: cartoon; gender; body weight; food consumption; television; attractiveness cartoon; gender; body weight; food consumption; television; attractiveness
MDPI and ACS Style

Tzoutzou, M.; Bathrellou, E.; Matalas, A.-L. Cartoon Characters in Children’s Series: Gender Disparities in Body Weight and Food Consumption. Sexes 2021, 2, 79-87. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2010007

AMA Style

Tzoutzou M, Bathrellou E, Matalas A-L. Cartoon Characters in Children’s Series: Gender Disparities in Body Weight and Food Consumption. Sexes. 2021; 2(1):79-87. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2010007

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tzoutzou, Milia, Eirini Bathrellou, and Antonia-Leda Matalas. 2021. "Cartoon Characters in Children’s Series: Gender Disparities in Body Weight and Food Consumption" Sexes 2, no. 1: 79-87. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2010007

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