Advertising Junk Food
With childhood obesity rates on the rise, Health Canada is taking aim at junk food ads that target children.
Childhood obesity rates in Canada have tripled since 1980, and today, nearly one third of Canadians aged 6-17 is overweight or obese.
Ottawa will be consulting the public as well as industry and health groups during a 45 day consultation period before introducing legislation to restrict, or perhaps even ban, the marketing of junk food to young people.
Tighter rules on advertising junk food to kids will likely impact Canadian’s health, it could also influence social and traditional media, such as television, as well as sports sponsorships.
In Canada, only Quebec has restrictions on the marketing of food to children.
A new report by the Heart and Stroke Foundation says that 90% of online food and beverage ads viewed by youths are for unhealthy products high in fat, sugar and salt, such as desserts, snacks, cereals and sodas, promoting calls to create federal bans on such advertising.
Experts estimate that over the span of a year, Canadian children between the ages of 2 to 11 view more than 25 million online food and beverage ads.
Parents blame such marketing for the so-called ‘nag factor’ where children pester their parents to buy products they see online and on television.
According to the Heart and Stroke Foundations report over the past 70 years, processed food purchases have doubled and now account for 60% of family food purchases. One quarter of children ages 5-19, moreover, reported consuming sugary drinks every day while less than half of youths aged 12-19 eat the minimum recommendation of five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Canadian children and youth, meanwhile spend almost 8 hours a day in front of television screens and other social media.