Donegal parents want ban on junk food marketing to kids

By June Shannon Policy News   |   28th Aug 2019

The marketing of junk food is having an impact on children, establishing and encouraging eating habits that can lead to obesity and heart disease.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s ‘Stop Targeting Kids‘ campaign was in Donegal recently, where it received support from local families for a new law banning junk food marketing to children.

The response by parents, children and members of the public in Letterkenny to the call for action by the Government, to regulate junk food advertisements aimed at children in Ireland, was hugely positive and interviews with parents were featured on Highland Radio, the Tirconaill Tribune, Donegal News and others local papers.

The Irish Heart Foundation has led the fight against the marketing of junk food to children in Ireland. In 2016 it launched the ground-breaking research ‘Who’s Feeding the Kids Online’ highlighting the extent to which junk brands target children through digital media.

In 2017, the charity launched its innovative ‘Stop Targeting Kids’ campaign calling on the Government to regulate online and broadcast media.

Last year the Irish Heart Foundation challenged the introduction of the Department of Health’s Voluntary Code in this area.

As highlighted previously by the Irish Heart Foundation, despite being in existence now for more than 18 months, the ‘Non-Broadcast Media Advertising and Marketing of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages, including Sponsorship and Retail Product Placement: Voluntary Codes of Practice, remains entirely unenforced.

" By signing the campaign petition members of the public will support our call to government to regulate junk food marketing that influences young people,”

Helena O Donnell, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer , The Irish Heart Foundation

The Irish Heart Foundation also lobbied hard for the implementation of a Sugar and Sweetened Drinks Tax which was introduced in May 2018.

An Ipsos MRBI survey carried out last year for the Irish Heart Foundation, revealed that 86 per cent of Irish adults in Ulster were concerned about childhood obesity and 72 per cent supported a ban on the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to children.

The Irish Heart Foundation is encouraging parents across Ireland to sign the ‘Stop Targeting Kids’ campaign petition and show their support for the regulation of digital and broadcast junk food advertisements.

Helena O’Donnell, Advocacy and Campaigns Officer at the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “At the Irish Heart Foundation we see the devastating effects heart disease and stroke can have on families. Obesity levels in Ireland are increasing and damaging children’s health, often with lifelong consequences. More than 20 per cent of primary school children in Ireland are overweight or obese and children as young as eight are presenting with high blood pressure. The World Obesity Federation predicts that by 2025, 241,000 schoolchildren in Ireland will be overweight or obese and 19,000 will have high blood pressure.”

“We know the marketing of junk food is having an impact on children, establishing and encouraging eating habits that can lead to obesity and heart disease. Because of the evidence, some regulation of broadcast advertising to children was introduced a few years ago but since then there has been an explosion in unregulated digital marketing that’s more personalised, effective and therefore potentially more damaging. By signing the campaign petition members of the public will support our call to government to regulate junk food marketing that influences young people,” she added.

For more information on the Stop Targeting Kids campaign or to sign the petition please see here

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childhood obesity junk food junk food marketing nutrition Obesity online marketing overweight stop targeting kids

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