After conducting a systematic review of studies examining the impact of brand mascots and cartoon media characters on children’s diets, Virginia Tech and Duke University researchers have claimed that “familiar media character branding appears to be a more powerful influence on children’s preferences, choices and intake of less healthy foods compared with fruits or vegetables.” V.I. Kraak and M. Story, “Influence of Food Companies’ Brand Mascots and Entertainment Companies’ Cartoon Media Characters on Children’s Diet and Health: A Systematic Review and Research Needs,” Obesity Reviews, February 2015. The results also apparently indicated that “an unfamiliar cartoon media character may increase children’s appetite, preference for, choice and intake of health of fruits and vegetables compared with no character branding.”Adapted from a paper commissioned by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Eating Research program, the review summarized “11 published experimental studies involving children aged 2-11 years” while noting some limitations, including small and heterogeneous sample sizes. As a result, the authors identified a need for “a theoretically grounded conceptual model and larger and more diverse samples across settings to produce stronger findings for mediating and moderating factors.”