7 in 10 adults favour blanket ban on junk food advertising to kids

Seven out of ten adults favour a blanket ban on advertising unhealthy foods and drinks to children, according to a poll for the Irish Heart Foundation.

The Ipsos MRBI research was released today to coincide with the launch by the foundation of a new parents' campaign group as part of its Stop Targeting Kids campaign.

Almost eight out of ten adults (79%) believe advertising is a "very big" or "fairly big" contributor to childhood obesity and almost nine out of ten (89%) are very concerned about obesity.

The foundation is calling for the regulation of online marketing of unhealthy foods directed at children and for the closure of loopholes in existing television regulations.

It says children between the age of three and five years are still seeing over 1,000 junk food advertisements on Irish television each year because of weaknesses in the regulations.

Dan Parker, a former advertising executive and founder of Living Loud which supports people to live healthier lives said junk food advertising had become "a monster", manipulating young people's emotions and choices.

"Thanks to the explosion of digital marketing on top of loopholes in broadcast regulations being ruthlessly exploited by junk brands, children are being bombarded daily in a way that is impossible to resist," he said.

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