Junk food ads come under fire


An international panel aiming to battle childhood obesity thinks that the preponderance of advertisements for unhealthy food during children’s programming is a major factor, and that the US is on the unhealthy side of the spectrum. In fact, it goes so far as to claim that 90% of the advertising on children’s programming in the US and Germany is for junk food.

The study, put together for the International Obesity Task Force, found that overall, about 67% of all children’s advertising was in the junk food category.

Bridget Kelly, an Australian nutrition researcher, said, “Limiting this food marketing is an important preventative strategy for childhood obesity.”

177M children worldwide are said to be clinically obese, including 22M under the age of five.

Of course, advertising such products irks the watchdogs twice. Not only are the children being encouraged to eat unhealthy foods, they are also sitting on a couch rather than exercising.

The panel did note that it is difficult to establish a direct link between advertising and obesity.

RBR/TVBR observation: That 90% figure sure seems high, especially when many of the major food manufacturers and restaurants in the US that are active in the children’s market have been promising to advertise responsibly, especially on programming aimed at age 12 or less. But stay on guard – this is yet another ad category that figures to draw watchdog fire for some time to come.