Marketing and promotion of obesity in children


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Jyotsna Vohra1
1Cancer Research UK

Abstract

Background

Obesity is a growing problem amongst all ages with children who are obese more likely to go on to become obese adults. In England, more than 20% of children start primary school as being overweight and obese and this increases to almost 33 % of children by the time they have left (aged 11 years).  It is therefore imperative that we also focus our efforts to reduce obesity on children and young people.

 

Research has shown that promotion and marketing of junk foods (high in sugars and fats) to children and young people can influence their behavior and in younger children lead to “pestering” parents in the supermarket. The Policy Research Centre for Prevention (PRCP), Cancer Research UK has collected qualitative data from 6-10 and 11-19 year olds that highlighted how television adverts and brightly coloured packaging made products more appealing to these groups, despite their knowledge of health implications. Furthermore cross sectional quantitative data has also been collected from 11-19 years olds highlighting where they are exposed to advertising and how this relates to behaviour. 

 

Overall the studies that are being carried out by the PRCP will highlight the need for stronger policy measures on junk food marketing restrictions.