Junk food advertising to kids: Self-regulation is failing across Europe

01 oktober 2012

Advertising of junk food continues to undermine children’s health despite the food industry’s promises that they would restrict their marketing activities, according to a new report A JunkFree Childhood 2012: Marketing foods and beverages to children in Europe published by the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO).
The review of advertising in Europe undertaken by IASO found that the industry’s own figures show that children’s exposure to advertisements for fatty and sugary foods had fallen by barely a quarter over the last six years.
The report’s author, Dr Tim Lobstein, said “The food and beverage companies were told in 2004 by the then European Health Commissioner Markos Kyprianou that they must cut their advertising to children or face regulation. The figures show that self‐regulation achieved only a 29% fall in children’s exposure, which is deeply disappointing. Exposure is now creeping up again in some countries.” “The problem is made worse because the companies are allowed to set their own standards for what they consider ‘junk food’ and they set the bar too low,” said Dr Lobstein (Press Release IASO, 27 September 2012).