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UK advertising regulations are still failing to protect children online, say heart charity

The has criticised a new report for allowing to continue to target junk food marketing at children online.

The review, commissioned by the (CAP), did not revise guidelines meaning advertisers are free to target children with like advergames designed to make products high in saturated fat, salt and sugar more attractive.

Instead, the report called on advertisers to review their to ensure that it can be easily identified as such.

Advertising junk food products on television during children’s programmes has been banned since 2007. However, restrictions governing online advertising remain weak with no distinction being made between healthy and unhealthy products.

Mike Hobday, Policy Director of the British Heart Foundation, said:

“While we’re pleased the report acknowledged children struggle to differentiate persuasive advertising from harmless entertainment, we’re disappointed it has not taken stronger action to stop children being exposed to junk food adverts online.

“The recommendations leave the online sphere loosely regulated in comparison with TV and mean that advertisers can continue to target children every day with advertising and marketing specifically designed to get them eating unhealthy products.”


Source: British Heart Foundation

Issued in response to: Online food and drink marketing to children CAP’s response to the 2014 literature review by Family Kids & Youth, February 2015. Available at: http://www.cap.org.uk/News-reports/Media-Centre/2015/Advertisers-reminded-of-the-need-to-be-clear-with-kids-online.aspx#.VNOwW52sVaA