A ban on fast-food advertising in the United States could reduce the number of overweight children by as much as 18 percent, according to a study conducted for the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, is being published in the University of Chicago's Journal of Law and Economics. Led by a professor from Lehigh University, researchers measured the number of hours of fast-food television advertising messages viewed by children on a weekly basis.

Lehigh University Professor Shin-Yi-Chou and her colleagues found that a ban on fast food advertisements during children's programming would reduce the number of overweight children aged 3-11 by 18 percent, and lower the number of overweight adolescents aged 12-18 by 14 percent.

Though the researchers concluded an advertising ban would be an effective method of reducing the number of overweight children, they also questioned whether such onerous government involvement and the costs of implementing such policies made an advertising ban a practical option in the United States.

Access information regarding the study at journals.uchicago.edu and lehigh.edu.