Children exposed to same level of junk food ads despite TV ban

The number of unhealthy food ads seen by kids hasn't decreased despite tighter regulations, say researchers

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Children are still exposed to the same level of junk food advertising despite tighter regulations, according to new research.

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A ban on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt or sugar during children’s programming was introduced by the regulator Ofcom in 2007.

However, researchers from Newcastle University have said that before the ban, 6.1% of ads seen by kids were about junk food, and after the ban, it’s 7%.

Health campaigners said the study highlighted a “loophole” in the law, as children were still being exposed to junk food ads during other programming not particularly aimed at them.

British Heart Foundation policy manager Mubeen Bhutta told the BBC: “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.” 

Ofcom said its own studies showed a decrease in how much young people viewed adverts for unhealthy food.

We want to know – how many junk food ads do you think your child sees? Do they know what to pester you for in the supermarket or on the high street?

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