IHF finds over 1,350 junk food adverts went out during World Cup knock-out stages

There are calls for junk food ads to be banned on TV before 9pm.

The Irish Heart Foundation says we need to stop promoting snacks to children that are high in sugar, salt and fat.

It has gone through the ads aired during the World Cup and found that over 1,350 junk food ones went out during the knockout stages.

Analysis by IHF found that:

  • The total number of junk food adverts viewed during the World Cup knockout games, including pitch side adverts, came to 1,357 (1,317 pitch-side digital billboard displays and 40 television advertisements).

  • Across the knockout stage, a total of 285 minutes of high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) advertising was transmitted to viewers in Ireland. (Pitch-side billboard displays for 267 minutes and TV ads for 18 minutes).

  • Pitch-side billboards displays for HFSS ads appeared 65-108 times per match.

  • Per match, an average of nearly 17 minutes of HFSS in-match digital brand displays were shown (16m 42s).

Commenting on the findings, IHF's Policy Manager Kathryn Reilly said: "There is conclusive and long-standing proof of a causal link between junk food marketing to children and child obesity.

"That’s why junk food ads on TV were restricted on children’s programmes in 2013. This research clearly illustrates that Ireland’s watershed of 6pm is not sufficient.

"The 25% cap on advertising outside of children’s programming and the content rules are merely tokenistic, leaving large numbers of children still exposed to adverts for unhealthy foods.

To protect children from adverts that we know can influence what food they want to eat, the Government should extend existing regulations to restrict HFSS advertising on TV until after the 9pm watershed.

"In addition, brands that advertise HFSS food and drinks should not be allowed to sponsor prime time family TV shows."

Lead researcher Mimi Tatlow-Golden of Open University concluded: "Children are influenced by the strong emotions of match play and their sporting heroes.

"This kind of marketing during sporting events creates powerful positive and healthy associations with junk food brands – the opposite of reality. "

- Digital Desk

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