Cinemas should ban junk food ads during screenings of movies watched by children and teens due to growing fears over growing obesity levels in Ireland.
Fine Gael senator Catherine Noone called for the move today, saying: "Children going to see a film with their parents are then subjected to adverts designed for children, promoting sweets and fast-food, while adverts promoting healthy alternatives do not appear.
“There is no doubt about the relationship between advertising high fat, sugar and salt products and consumption.
“Junk food producers now have the ability to target Irish children in the cinemas, in their living rooms on TV and in their bedrooms through the internet.
Serious concerns have been raised in recent years over the growing levels of childhood obesity in Ireland, with fears a drop in exercise levels and an increase in salty and fatty food consumption will cause a raft of health hazards for the next generation.
Ms Noone said: "Until we address this issue we cannot turn the tide on childhood obesity, which every day creates more lifelong problems for young people.
“At some point in the future, as a society, we will come to view this type of high fat, sugar and salt advertising to that of cigarette companies.
"The health effects can be just as costly, with long-term adverse health effects."