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New regulations fail to make TV food adverts healthier for children
Date:2/16/2012

Despite new regulations restricting UK TV advertisements for food, children are still exposed to the same level of advertising for junk foods which are high in fat, salt and sugar, researchers have found.

Unexpectedly, academics at Newcastle University also found that since the new restrictions were introduced five years ago, viewers of all ages are seeing many more adverts for unhealthy foods.

In work funded by National Prevention Research Initiative and published today in PLoS ONE, the team describe how they examined the nutritional content of TV ads 6 months before new restrictions were introduced in 2007 and then again 6 months after the full restrictions were put in place in July 2009. They linked this data to how many people saw the adverts and discovered that even after the restrictions were in place, 14.6% of adverts seen were for food and half of those (51.1%) were for less healthy items such as crisps, sugared breakfast cereals and drinks containing large amounts of sugar.

Although almost all adverts shown during children's programmes adhered to the restrictions, children were still exposed to the same amount of ads for unhealthy foods as they had been before the restrictions because children don't just watch children's programmes.

Dr Jean Adams, Lecturer in Public Health at Newcastle 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.

"We know advertising works otherwise food companies wouldn't use it - so we have a duty to further tighten up the restrictions particularly if we're going to help our young people grow up to make good choices about
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Contact: Karen Bidewell
press.office@ncl.ac.uk
44-019-122-26972
Newcastle University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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