Food Marketing to Children
The University of Liverpool is at the forefront of policy-influencing work to restrict children's exposure to the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt, and therefore reduce the impact of this marketing on their dietary preferences and overall health. This workstream features a number of projects, many multi- or transdisciplinary, that use experimental psychology to explore how food marketing affects children's eating behaviour, and evaluate the legal mechanisms most likely to effect meaningful change in exposure. In particular, the work of Emma Boyland and Amandine Garde has received the attention of major public health actors at national, regional and global levels. Recent examples of the projects they have led include:
- a nationally representative survey, funded by Cancer Research UK, demonstrating that commercial exposure via TV or the Internet is associated with a greater likelihood of children pestering parents for advertised products, consuming unhealthy products and being a higher body weight.
- Two World Health Organization reports: 'Tackling Food Marketing to Children in a Digital World' and 'Evaluating Implementation of the WHO Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children'. Both of these explore the legal and ethical challenges inherent in monitoring and regulating the global business of food marketing to children, with a specific emphasis on digital marketing; assess progress against the set of WHO recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children (highlighting the insufficient policy progress across the European and the East Mediterranean Regions); and argue for a rights-based approach to the regulation of food marketing to children.
- a report commissioned by Unicef A Child’s Rights-Based Approach to Food Marketing: A Guide for Policy Makers, which is the first to reflect on the added value of a child rights-based approach to food marketing regulation and to argue that the set of WHO recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children should inform the interpretation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.