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BizReport : Law & Regulation : September 11, 2006

Should Internet Junk Food Advertising Be Regulated?

Obesity associations and groups all over the world are gathering together with one single pledge: stop children obesity.

by Patricia Bates

During this week’s International Congress on Obesity in Sidney, Australia, the International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) has launched a new report demanding the ban on all advertising of junk food aimed at children on the internet.

According to Dr. Tim Lobstein, coordinator of the IOTF’s childhood obesity working group and author of the controversial report, there is powerful evidence of the way in which advertising games on the internet were being used to bypass the minimal standards of conduct adopted by food and beverage advertisers.

It is said that 85% of business advertising to children on television had also interactive websites promoting branded products for children. These children websites incorporated promotions using viral marketing techniques, membership opportunities, movies and television tie-ins.

The internet environment is still new. Differently from television and press media, online marketing of junk food is still unregulated. Young children do visit commercial sites on the internet and most major food brands have websites designed to attract young kids.

The new report mentioned that young children should be protected form exploitative marketing techniques currently being used on the internet.

According to an European Union consultation on diet and exercise, there are 14 million overweight children in Europe.

Tags: children, obesity

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