Junk Food Ads During Children’s Television Shows

As mentioned before, the amount of time my children watch television is limited. When they do watch it, it tends to be mainly on non commercial channels or DVDs. So I was completing amazed by the results of study discussed in the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this month. It looked at research undertaken at the University of Sydney. The study looked at more than 20,000 ads aired during popular children’s programs, finding more than one-quarter promoted junk food.

The article concluded that :

“Children are subjected up to three inducements to eat junk food for every hour of television they watch”

Not only are there heavily concentrated junk food ads, but junk food ads that screen during children’s programs are 18 times more likely to use gimmicks like competitions and celebrity power.

Lesley King who was a researcher involved in the study says that:

“These techniques are used even more for unhealthy foods at the [time] children are watching television,” she said. “These all appear to be strongly reliant on these tactics to influence the decisions [children make].”

There is a move by some state governments to introduce legislation to regulate the advertisements that are on during children’ television show. I acknowledge that parents have a role in monitoring what and how much children watch, but when only one hour of children’s television exposes them to three junk food ads, I really think that it is time that there is some level of regulation introduced.

What do you think? Time to curb the level of junk food advertising aimed at our kids, or is it solely up to parents to manage?