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Tuesday, November 08, 2016

WHO warns: Beware of food ads targeting at children in a digital world

The World Health Organization has advised that children should be protected from pervasive junk food adverts in mobile applications. social media and video blogs.  According to the WHO, adverts promoting unhealthy food and drinks on the internet could influence our kids.

The WHO criticized the government for failing to keep up with a revolution in the way people consume media.

The report attacked the way some video bloggers – vloggers – get paid by junk food retailers to promote their food.

Dr Joao Breda, the WHO programme manager for nutrition, physical activity and obesity, told the BBC News website: “It is going digital very strongly and we know that existing models of regulation have holes and gaps that don’t cover the needs of our children.

“We think it’s huge, but parents don’t know – sometimes they don’t realise their children are being exposed.

“You could argue that is it more dangerous [than traditional media like TV].”

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: “Our evidence review shows that all forms of advertising and marketing – including the use of characters, advergames and digital marketing – affect the balance of children’s diets.”

The organisation is currently reviewing what foods and drinks can be advertised to children.

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