Children watching same number of junk food ads despite TV ban, research finds

Children are still being exposed to the same number of junk food ads despite regulations from Ofcom banning advertising during children’s TV shows, research from the University of Newcastle has found.

Junk food via Shutterstock

The research, funded by the Medical Research Council's National Prevention Research Initiative, has found that the number of junk food ads seen by children actually increased after the ban, from 6.1% to 7%.

University of Newcastle researchers measured the amount of unhealthy food adverts there were six months before the regulations were introduced in 2007, and again six months after they were fully implemented in 2009. It was found that the proportion of unhealthy items in food adverts increased from 38.6% to 60.4% over this period.

Dr Jean Adams, lecturer in public health at the University, said: "While adverts stay within the letter of the law, I think we can say we're still not getting the spirit of the law.

"These regulations were brought in to help young people make better lifestyle choices and encourage a healthier diet.

"However, what they are seeing is exactly the same amount of advertising for food which is high in salt or high in sugar and fat as before the regulations came in."

Hamburger image via Shutterstock

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