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Monday, 9 July, 2001, 07:29 GMT 08:29 UK
Junk food ads 'targeted at children'
Bad diet
Many young people eat a bad diet
Advertisers of junk food are selectively targeting children and damaging their immediate and future health, say researchers.

A report from Sustain, an alliance of campaigners for better food and farming, suggests that up to 90% of adverts for food during children's commercial TV programming are for products high in fat, sugar or salt.


Advertising during children's programming continues to present a grossly imbalanced nutritional message

Charlie Powell
Sustain is calling for a new law to bring in tough restrictions on advertising sugary, fatty and salty foods to children.

The report outlines the findings of nearly 40 hours monitoring of commercial television programmes, incorporating 272 food advertisements.

Nearly half of all the food advertised during children TV were for cakes and confectionery.

Fatty and sugary foods - those which youngsters should eat least - were promoted in excessively high proportions, according to Sustain.

Fresh fruit

It also says fruit and vegetables - which children need to increase their consumption - weren't advertised at all during the survey timespan.

And children watching telly on Saturday morning see more than twice as many adverts for so-called unhealthy foods as adults do after 9pm.

Sustain says the findings are worrying, since obesity is a growing problem among young people.

The cumulative effect of the adverts, it says, is to portray unhealthy food as desirable and to undermine efforts to encourage healthier patterns of eating.

Charlie Powell, a project officer at Sustain, said: "Advertising during children's programming continues to present a grossly imbalanced nutritional message, creating a conflict between the types of food promoted and national dietary recommendations.

"In the context of rising childhood obesity and scientific evidence that diets high in fats, especially saturated fats, sugar and salt have a detrimental effect on children's current and future health, this selective targeting is unjustifiable."

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The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones
"Campaigners want controls on advertising"
See also:

21 May 01 | Health
05 Jan 01 | Health
09 Feb 01 | Health
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