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December 19, 2011

Junk food brands decried for targeting children online

For pushing food products high in fat, salt and sugar, says British Heart Foundation

By CBR Staff Writer

According to report by the British Heart Foundation, junk food makers are targeting children through social media and pushing food products high in fat, salt and sugar.

Collaborating with Working with the Children’s Food Campaign, it has put together a report as part of its Food4Thought campaign.

BHF said that all of the products featured in their report are barred from advertising during children’s television programmes. It added that companies are exploiting a loophole in the regulations to promote them freely on the internet.

The Foundation also highlighted as to how many companies use social networking sites "like Facebook as a way to encourage children to share the sites with their friends."

BHF Policy Manager Mubeen Bhutta said like wolves in sheep’s clothing, junk food manufacturers are preying on children and targeting them with fun and games they know will hold their attention. "Regulation protects our children from these cynical marketing tactics while they’re watching their favourite children’s TV programmes but there is no protection when they’re online. With around a third of children classified as overweight or obese today it’s crucial that the UK Government takes action," Bhutta added.

BHF named household brands such as Cadbury Buttons, Cheestrings, Nestle, among others, for resorting to "cynical marketing tactics."

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