Kids are badgering parents for the sweet and salty snacks they see on TV commercials, according to a new survey
The British Heart Foundation is calling for a ban on junk food TV adverts before the 9pm watershed.
A survey conducted by the charity revealed that 7 in 10 parents with children aged between 4 and 16 had been pestered to buy chocolate or fizzy drinks after they had seen them advertised on TV. Almost half said this happened at least once a week.
About 40% of adults also said that they thought junk food adverts made it harder to help children eat a healthy and balanced diet.
Mike Hobday, the director of policy at the BHF, said: “This evidence shows that junk food ads are having a detrimental impact on children’s behaviour and are hindering parents’ efforts to get their children to eat healthily.
“We cannot allow companies to continue exploiting holes in the system at the expense of our children’s health.”
While the policy has been supported by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “banning and legislation is not always the answer … backing families to make better choices bring lasting change.”
However, TV regulator Ofcom introduced restrictions on junk food advertising during programmes targeted at children in 2007 and industry body the Food and Drink Federation believe the laws are sufficient.
FDF director of food science and safety Barbara Gallani added: “In the UK we have one of the strictest advertising regulatory regimes in the world concerning the foods that can be advertised to children on TV.
“These rules are comprehensively adhered to and enforced.”