Confirming the need to protect children from unhealthy food advertising

A recent examination of current evidence of the relationship between food marketing and children’s food behaviours found the evidence base was particularly strong for 3-12 year old children, with exposure to marketing showing negative effects on food preferences, choices and short-term food consumption. The authors concluded, “It is time to shift the locus of responsibility for childhood obesity away from the individual and toward those that control the food system and resultant obesogenic environment.”

And a systematic review of the effect of unhealthy food and beverage marketing on dietary intake of 2-18 year olds has confirmed that children exposed to unhealthy food marketing ate more during or shortly after exposure to ads and if exposed to unhealthy food ads they were more likely to eat the food they saw advertised.

Norman J, Kelly B, Boyland E, McMahon AT. The impact of marketing and advertising on food behaviours: evaluating the evidence for a causal relationship. Current Nutrition Reports 2016;1-11
Sadeghirad B, Duhaney T, Motaghipisheh S, Campbell NRC, Johnston BC. Influence of unhealthy food and beverage marketing on children’s dietary intake and preference: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized trials. Obesity Reviews 2016

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