Advertising unhealthy food should be regulated, British Heart Foundation claims

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2nd February 2015 13:10 - Food

Health campaigners have called for tougher regulations on adverts promoting unhealthy foods. The negative sentiment surrounding TV Advertising unhealthy food should be regulated, British Heart Foundation claimsadverts has come on the heels of the findings of a recent survey, which claimed that children are pestering their parents for sugary, salty and fatty treats, as a result of seeing them on TV.

The survey, which was published by the British Heart Foundation, found that approximately 70 per cent of parents with children aged 4 to 16 admitted that their children pestered them to buy unhealthy foods and drinks, as a result of seeing adverts on TV. Some 50 per cent of the same sample claimed that they were pestered to buy unhealthy products weekly.

Some 40 per cent of the parents questioned believed that TV adverts for junk food made it harder to maintain their children’s healthy diets. When it came to online marketing, 30 per cent felt the same.

A significant proportion of the parents surveyed believed that takeaways situated close to their children’s school was a cause for concern.

The British Heart Foundation has called for adverts for junk food to be banned from TV before the 9pm watershed. They also believed that adverts online should be regulated.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority insisted that the British Heart Foundation was “ignoring the facts” as the guidelines for advertising unhealthy food were already tough.

Despite the British Heart Foundation accepting that the restrictions on marketing food to minors are already strict, campaigners still believe that there is a loophole regarding TV shows which attract a mixture of adults and children (e.g. soaps and talent shows).

The campaigners claimed that advertising agencies are evolving to be more skilled in targeting minors online and on social media. They also deem minors to be of a higher risk as they cannot always tell the difference between a television programme and an advert.

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