Global Cancer News

Broadcast regulations aren’t enough to protect kids from TV junk food ads

Anne Li

It seems obvious that advertising unhealthy food and drink leads to people eating and drinking more of it. UK businesses wouldn’t have spent an estimated £21 billion on ads in 2016 if they didn’t work. But it’s difficult to know exactly who TV advertising is working on, and whether it’s leading those people to do things they otherwise wouldn’t. We are particularly worried about children and young people – a prime target for advertisers. They have pocket money, find fun ads appealing, and will pester their parents to buy what they’ve seen. And if what they’ve seen is junk food, that could be a massive problem. What we eat and weigh in childhood can define these things in adulthood. And with 13 types of cancer linked to obesity in adults, this could have a big impact on health.

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