Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The State of TV Junk Food Ads to Kids in the United Kingdom

Yesterday's post discussed the issue of food marketing to children via television and its outsized influence on kids' decisions.

While doing more research on the topic, I came across "The Food Programme," a weekly BBC Radio program that investigates "every aspect of the food we eat." Just recently the show took an in-depth look at "food ads and children" and "how companies have changed their marketing since the banning of the showing of food advertisements during children's television programmes four years ago."

What would be virtually impossible in the United States happened in the United Kingdom in 2007, when Ofcom, the independent regulator and competition authority for the communications industries there, banned junk food commercials aimed at children under 16.

According to the segment, children viewed 40 percent fewer junk food commercials in 2009 than in 2005. And, as we saw yesterday, those commercials help dictate what kids eat. I'm sure at least one kid in London, Liverpool or Leeds is healthier because of Ofcom's legislation.

Will we live long enough to see a similar ban in the United States? I doubt it, even for those of us intent on living to 105.

Click here to listen to "The Food Programme" report on junk food advertising to children.