05:37am Monday 06 April 2020

Advertising restrictions fail to protect children from junk food marketing

Watching tv

Current restrictions mean that foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar can’t be shown during children’s television programmes. A team of researchers from Newcastle University found that almost all adverts shown during children’s programmes met current restrictions. But children’s exposure to junk food ads remained the same because children also watch TV outside of these times.

Our Policy Manager, Mubeen Bhutta, said: “This research shows that loopholes in advertising regulations allow our children to be targeted with promotions for junk food during their favourite TV shows.


It’s time the Government put the health of our children above the health of the advertising industry

“Our recent report found manufacturers are also targeting children online, with promotions for unhealthy foods which can’t be advertised during children’s TV. It’s clear that current restrictions simply don’t go far enough.

“To protect children, all junk food adverts should be screened after the 9pm watershed and we want to see consistent advertising regulations across all forms of media, including online, to protect our children. It’s time for the Government to put the health of our children above the health of the advertising industry.”

A part of our Food4Thought campaign our report – The 21st century gingerbread house: How companies are marketing junk food to children online – revealed the tactics used by junk food manufacturers to plug their products to children while they’re playing online. To see these tactics at work and to support our calls for consistent advertising regulations across all forms of media visit the Lard Bar.

The research was published in the journal PLoS One

British Heart Foundation is a registered Charity No. 225971. Registered as a Company limited by guarantee in England & Wales No. 699547.

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