Online junk food adverts could be banned to protect children

Jack Woodfield
Tue, 15 Mar 2016
Online junk food adverts could be banned to protect children
Children could soon be protected from online junk food adverts as part of a crackdown on unhealthy food.

Campaigners are concerned that the government needs to introduce measures to prevent obesity and type 2 diabetes in childen. Adverts promoting food high in fat, sugar and salt are already banned on children's television, but not online.

Now the UK's advertising watchdog, the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), has taken steps to stop advertisers pushing junk food on children's content streamed online.

It comes as campaigners such as Action on Sugar and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver continue to push for a sugar tax. Last month a government spokesman said it is unlikely that a sugar taxsugar tax will be included in its new childhood obesity strategy expected later this year.

"Worryingly successful"

In January the results of a study conducted at the University of Liverpool's Institute of Psychology, Health and Society confirmed that fast food marketing aimed at children was "worryingly successful".

Researchers concluded that more exposure to marketing, both online and on television, leads to higher rates of fast food consumption among children.

A public consultation on the move to prevent junk food ads being placed online is due to be launched this spring by the CAP, which sets the rules for advertisers in the UK. If a ban is brought in it would cover sites including YouTube and ITV Hub.

Broadcasting regulator Ofcom introduced strict rules prohibiting the advertising of food high in fat, sugar and salt in 2007 during television programmes targeted at youngsters.

Guy Parker, the chief executive of the Advertising Standards Authority, said at the Westminster Food and Nutrition Forum that he was often asked why junk food ads were banned on television but allowed during the same programmes when streamed online.
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