This story is over 5 years old.

Does Watching 'Spongebob Squarepants' Make Kids Fat?

If you’ve started to notice that your children are getting flabby, it could be because they’ve been spending their time watching Nickelodeon.
Photo via Flickr user Werner Reischel

On an episode of Spongebob SquarePants called "Survival of the Idiots," Spongebob and dopey, shirtless starfish Patrick sneak into the home of Sandy the Squirrel to mess with her while while she's halfway through her winter hibernation. (As with all Spongebob episodes, this makes sense if you're seven or if you're high as shit). When Spongebob says that the pair shouldn't disturb her, Patrick interrupts and says, "That's not disturbing, this is disturbing," before arranging his back fat to look like a lumpen but sentient face. If you've started to notice that your own children might be flabby enough to do a convincing Patrick impression, it could be because they've been spending their time watching Spongebob—or Nickelodeon, in general.


According to recently published research from the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), almost two-thirds of the commercials that run on Nickelodeon are for sugary, fatty, or all-around-terrible foods. Although that number has improved over the past decade–in 2005, a whopping 88% of Nickelodeon's ads were for not-at-all nutritious foods–the network still spends a disturbing amount of time selling Baby Bottle Pops, Fruit by the Foot and Fruit Gushers. (Again, those foods make sense if you're seven or if you're high as shit). Even worse, during the 14 hours of programming that were examined, Nickelodeon did not air one single ad for fruits or vegetables. MUNCHIES has reached out to Nickelodeon for comment and will update the story if we hear back.

According to research from Dr. Stephen M. Schwarz, a pediatric gastroenterologist, obesity is the most prevalent nutritional disorder among children and teens in the US; between 21-24% of kids and teens are classified as overweight, and another 16-18% would be categorized as obese. But is that Nickelodeon's problem? It might be.

A study published last month by doctors at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City showed that food commercials can literally affect children's brains and may negatively influence their decision making. Dr. Amanda Bruce told Reuters that concerned parents should limit the amount of "screen time" their children have when it comes to food and snack commercials. That could be bad news for kids who love Nickelodeon's programming, but it's great news for stoners: those Baby Bottle Pops would be all yours.