Call For Pre-Watershed Ban On Junk Food Ads

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New research from the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) shows that Irish kids were exposed to seventeen minutes’ worth of junk food advertising during the 2018 World Cup or 1,350 ads.

On average, nearly 17 minutes of in-match digital brand displays for food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar, were shown.

A total of 285 minutes of High Fat Sugar Salt advertising was transmitted to viewers in Ireland across the knockout stage, according to analysis by the Irish Heart Foundation.

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The heart foundation has reiterated its call for stronger measures to address child obesity and is calling on the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to ban high fat, sugar and salt food ads from 6am to 9pm.

Fine Gael Dublin Senator, Catherine Noone, has today called for an extension of the watershed as it relates to junk food. Speaking on the issue, Senator Noone said:

“There is no question over the causal relationship between junk food advertising to children and increased childhood obesity.

“Childhood obesity poses a significant challenge to future health of our population. By taking meaningful steps now we can reduce the amount of damage being done to young lives.”

“The current watershed of 6pm was a step in the right direction. Unfortunately however junk food producers have consistently sought to circumnavigate these regulations, exploiting loopholes around exempted programs like ‘The X Factor’, ‘Coronation Street’ and sporting events, all of which have a high child viewership.

“I believe a prudent and responsible step to take would be to expand the watershed until 9pm. This will reduce the number of junk food adverts children are exposed to and in turn reduce their impact.

“However, to tackle obesity we must take a multifaceted approach. By reducing the current advertising cap of 25% on high fat, salt and sugar products (one in four ads), to 10%, it would further impact the ability of junk food producers and more accurately reflect the nature of healthy, balanced diet.”

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