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Junk food ads are 'disastrously effective', warns WHO

Childhood obesity is becoming even more of a widespread problem across the UK, with the marketing of unhealthy food to children and young people contributing to the pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) claims such marketing has been disastrously effective, driving the unhealthy decisions of young people when it comes to what they eat.

For instance, nearly one in 10 British children attending reception class in 2011-12, aged four to five years, were classed as obese.

WHO is therefore calling for more control on marketing unhealthy foods high in sugars, salt, and trans fats in a bid to tackle the rising level of obesity in kids.

It has outlined tighter restrictions in the new report titled “Marketing of foods high in fat, salt and sugar to children”.

Zsuzsanna Jakab, director of WHO’s regional unit for Europe, said millions of young people in Europe are exposed to unhealthy food marketing practices that are deemed to be “unacceptable”.

This even occurs in schools and sports facilities, places where they should be protected, with adverts urging them to consume high-fat, high-sugar and high-salt foods.

The promotion of these foods has been known to be a major cause of childhood obesity and other diet-related diseases - and WHO now wants action to stop such advertising by companies.

Children are being exploited by new means of marketing channels, such as smart phone apps and social media, as well as TV, which has become the most dominant domain for junk adverts.

 

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