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Junk food ad ban backed by WELS academic

Headshot photograph of Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden

Dr Mimi Tatlow-Golden, Senior Lecturer in Developmental Psychology and Childhood in the WELS School of Education, Childhood, Youth & Sport (ECYS), has praised the government’s announcement of an online and pre-watershed TV ban of advertising for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS).

According to the plans, adverts for HFSS foods will be banned online, as well as on UK television before the 9:00 pm watershed, from the end of 2022.

Dr Tatlow-Golden has long been advocating for greater restrictions in the marketing of unhealthy food to children, supported by her findings from various research studies conducted in the field of food marketing to children.

Her research with teens themselves, See Like, Share, Remember, found that they pay attention to social media marketing for longer if it is for unhealthy food – compared to healthy food and popular non-food items. They also rate peers more positively if they have unhealthy food marketing on their profiles, are more likely to share unhealthy food marketing themselves, and remember unhealthy food items better when asked about them later.

Commenting on the planned ban, Dr Tatlow-Golden said:

“Food marketing, particularly online, is fun and so brilliantly designed. It links ultra-processed unhealthy foods and drinks with pleasure, family love, friendship, and even with healthy activities. Research tells us it also increases children’s wanting, asking, buying and eating of these foods – by enough to affect their health over time. Targeted marketing in digital media is sneaky and parents aren’t aware of what their kids are seeing. The ban isn’t comprehensive, and various forms of advertising such as brand ads will still be permitted – but it is a great start and one the rest of the world is watching.”

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