Study finds children exposed to increasingly high levels of ‘junk food’ advertisements

Date: 12th December 2017
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

A new study, 'A Watershed Moment: Why it's Prime Time to Protect Children from Junk Food Adverts', finds that children in the UK are being "bombarded" by up to 12 adverts an hour for foods high in fat, sugar and salt during peak viewing times for family TV programmes.

The research, published by the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA) with the University of Liverpool, shows that current advertising rules (introduced in 2007), restrict the advertising of junk food during children's TV programmes or any programme where 75 percent of the audience will be children.
However, health bodies point to the thousands of children watching shows not specifically targeted at children, saying that 49 percent of children's viewing takes place between 6-9pm. The study cited a multitude of adverts for pizza, burgers and biscuits, and noted that in one episode of The Voice, watched on average by 708,500 children, a takeaway pizza advert was shown at the start and end of every commercial break.
The Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 40 health charities and medical organisations which commissioned the study, has called for a ban on sponsorship by brands associated with junk food. Recent figures show a third of children in the country are overweight or obese by the time they leave primary school.