News

Online advertising for unhealthy foods favors overweight children


No control: Internet advertising for the unhealthy makes children fat
The World Health Organization (WHO) warns of the negative effects of online advertising for unhealthy foods. According to the experts, targeted advertising on the Internet means that children in particular are increasingly overweight. This is also possible because there is no control.

Children's eating behavior is influenced by advertising
A few weeks ago, US researchers reported a study that showed that advertising has a massive impact on children's eating habits. According to this, TV commercials mean that the little ones tend to make an impulsive choice of food based on taste rather than health. In today's world, however, online advertising for adolescents is at least as important as that on television. There is little control on the Internet. This makes it easier for unhealthy food producers to advertise their goods. This can have extremely adverse health effects.

Online advertising for unhealthy foods
The World Health Organization (WHO) has now drawn attention to the negative consequences of online advertising for unhealthy food. In a study for the European region, the experts found that children in particular are among the victims. The permanent confrontation with targeted advertising therefore leads to the fact that the little ones are promoted overweight. The advertising urgently needs to be better regulated.

Many parents underestimate the danger
Most people are aware that one should be very critical, especially with food advertising. After all, there are always inadmissible health promises in this area.

When advertising on the Internet, this risk is often underestimated by parents. This also has to do with the fact that advertisements on the Internet - especially on social media - are often individually tailored to the user. This means that the parents receive different advertisements than their offspring. In addition, there are virtually no controls on the Internet.

A quarter of European schoolchildren too fat
"We keep seeing children - our most vulnerable group - being exposed to countless hidden digital marketing techniques that promote foods high in fat, sugar, and salt," said Dr. Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO director for Europe, according to a statement.

This can have devastating consequences. According to the information, around a quarter of all schoolchildren in Europe would already be overweight. According to the WHO, 41 million small children worldwide are far too fat.

Health and economic consequences
According to Dr. WHO's Gauden Galea would keep over 60 percent of all children who were overweight before puberty in adulthood. “That gives us a gloomy future. Because we know that obesity and obesity are the main risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes, ”said the expert.

"Allowing advertisers and food manufacturers to market products with high salt, fat and sugar concentrations on digital platforms with inadequate regulation can have major health and economic ramifications," said Dr. Galea.

Legally regulate online advertising
WHO sees European politicians as responsible. Governments would have to take action against harmful online advertising. "It is the responsibility of policymakers to recognize the new threat posed by digital food marketing to children and to act quickly," said Dr. Jakab. (ad)

Author and source information



Video: Do you know what your child sees online? Digital marketing of foods to children (September 2021).