Irish Heart’s groundbreaking Stop Targeting Kids campaign enlisting public support to force action restricting relentless junk food marketing directed at children online, particularly on social media, came to Cork this week.
The people of Cork are urged to support Irish Heart’s Stop Targeting Kids campaign at www.irishheart.ie/stk. Every petition signed will strengthen the call for regulation of digital marketing of unhealthy foods to children and ultimately help Irish Heart’s goals to reduce childhood obesity and prevent more children developing risk factors for heart disease and stroke.
Irish Heart campaigners visited LeisureWorld Bishopstown where they unveiled a fake brand ambassador Chew Chew, of the fake brand Chewbos, to encourage support for the campaign and to show the people of Cork how happy, colourful, fun-loving characters assist in marketing junk food and drinks brands to children online.
According to Chris Macey, Head of Advocacy with Irish Heart, “children as young as eight have been found in Ireland with high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease not usually seen until middle age”.
Mr Macey said: “One in four children in Ireland is overweight or obese. At the same time, multinational junk food brands can follow children wherever they go – in school, at home and even in their bedrooms through their smart phones. These often hidden tactics are almost impossible for parents to see and why there is a need for the regulation of digital marketing.
“There’s conclusive proof of a causal link between junk food marketing to children and childhood obesity. That’s why it was partially regulated on broadcast media four years ago. But there’s no regulation of digital marketing that’s more personalised, targeted and therefore potentially far more damaging. That’s not good enough. We believe the Government is failing in its duty of care to protect children from the damage that junk brand advertising is having on their health and are calling for the Government to protect children from the damage that junk brand advertising is having on their health.”
The Stop Targeting Kids campaign uses fake sweet, crisps and cola brands to expose the unscrupulous tactics used by junk food and drinks companies to influence children online and to show the inappropriate proximity these brands have to young people through digital means, mostly without the knowledge of parents.
An Ipsos MRBI study – carried out earlier this year on behalf of the Irish Heart campaign – found that 76% of respondents in Munster support a ban on the marketing of unhealthy products to children on digital media.
People across Munster can sign the campaign petition at www.irishheart.ie/stk