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Link between child obesity and ‘advergames’ studied

A study of how food and drink is marketed to children online has recently been released, looking at a possible link between digital advertising and child weight issues.

The Community of Advertising Practice within the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) commissioned the study, with Dr Barbie Clarke the lead researcher. However, experts have disagreed about whether stricter regulation is required, with the Public Health Responsibility Deal Food and Drink Network confirming that it could not agree on how to promote products that are high in salt, sugar and fat.

The study acknowledged that multimedia channels have become prevalent in modern society, with the public having access to entertainment and information by using a number of different devices, such as laptops, smartphones and tablets. Guy Parker, the ASA’s CEO, attended a seminar on how to tackle obesity arranged by Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum. He said:

“I believe that the answer to this question is probably enforcing stricter evidence-based rules and helping children to be critically reflective so that they can make informed choices.”

‘Advergames’ are the latest focus for marketing aimed at children, although the ASA has banned games that promote overeating in the past. However, the organisation admitted that there are gaps in its knowledge when it comes to online promotions, even though its rules are already strict.

Experts continue to disagree, with some believing that other influences also factor in to child obesity. For example, schools around the UK are playing a role in the fight against child obesity by introducing healthy school tiuckshops. Lincolnshire is just one of the regions encouraging healthier snacks to its students.

Posted by Jennifer
February 14, 2015

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