Latest news and reports on the Children's Food Campaign...

Hidden Salt Risks to Children  Telegraph, March 2011

Calories on Menus don't Affect Kids' Food Choices  Reuters, February 2011

Ban Junk Food Advertising to Young People: Australian Medical Association  Medical News Today, February 2011

Effects of serving high sugar cereals on children's breakfast eating behaviour, American Journal of Pediatrics - 13th December 2010

Less sugar equal taste from healthy cereal, Reuters New York- 13th December 2010

Junk food advertising to children and adolescents in Fiji 2010

US adolescents get a fifth of their calories from fast food, study finds, BMJ 2010

Effectively Embedded: The Thirteenth Annual Report on Schoolhouse Commercializing Trends: 2009-2010 - 2nd December 2010

The big debate: Are food ads to blame for childhood obesity? 30th November 2010

Children will be given shopping vouchers for walking to school - Laura Donnelly Health Correspondent 28th November 2010

Perth pizza lovers more likely to log on to online ordering - 24th November 2010

Flogging foods with the help of junk science - The Guardian UK - 23rd November 2010

New Report Highlights Changes Needed to Support Healthy Eating and Physical Activity in U.S. Elementary Schools - 23rd November 2010

Kellogg to pay millions in kids' attention class action settlement - 22nd November 2010

Many unhealthy foods advertised in healthy context: Study - 19th November 2010

Food Policy Fears, The Guardian - 17th November 2010

Study shows US kids seeing more fast-food ads, Reuters - 8th November 2010

Can the law reduce child obesity?

A video record of the US Institute of Medicine workshop Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention is now available online at Speakers at the workshop, held in Washington DC in late October, addressed current and possible future strategies to help reduce childhood obesity through legal channels including legislation, regulation, and litigation. A workshop summary will be released in the Spring of 2011.

The Mulcahy Lecture - Protecting Children from Unhealthy Food Marketing - What Parents Need to Know was postponed due to adverse weather conditions. This page will be updated in the New Year with details of the new date.

Guest Speaker: Sue Davies, Chief Policy Advisor, WHICH? UK
Dr Edna Roche, Consultant Paediatrician and Paediatric Endocrinologist at AMNCH, Tallaght and Snr Lecturer and Head of Dept., Paediatrics, University of Dublin, Trinity College

To register your interest please contact Sharon on (01) 634 6953 or email 

For further information visit the Irish Heart Foundation website.

Study shows US kids seeing more fast food - Reuters, November 2010

Happy Meals under fire in US - The Irish Times, November 2010

Flow of Empty Calories into Children's Foods must be Reduced - Medilexicon News, October 2010

Sugar Schooling makes for a Sweeter Life - Irish Independent Health & Living, September 2010

Food Industry Changing how it markets to Children - Business & Leadership, September 2010

Kelloggs to cut sugar in cereals - BBC News, August 2010

Toying with Kids' Diets - Irish Times, July 2010 


Food Matters - Sunday Times, June 2010 - 

Do you know what's in your child's food?

Cuffe moots free toy ban in fast-food restaurants - The Sunday Tribune, May 2010


'Healthy' snacks loaded with sugar

  - The Sunday Times, May 10

Happy Meals have had their chips  - Times Online UK - May 10

Snack makers pledge to cut adverts aimed at children - Food & Drink - April 10

Smart Consumer-how much sugar is in your cereal? - Irish Independent - April 10

Child snacks attacked over salt and fat levels - Sunday Times - April 10

Cocopops cleared in ad row - Belfast Telegraph -April 10

Remarks by US First Lady Mrs M.Obama on Childhood Obesity - White House Mar

Bowl of cereal packed with as much sugar as a jam doughnut - Daily Telegraph April 10

Pepsi to cut salt, sugar and saturated fats - Reuters - Mar 10

Even three year olds know brands - Study - - Mar 10

Industry boss calls for alternative to junk food at movie theatres  - Irish Examiner - Mar 10

Kid's TV food adverts down but cross promotions soar - - Yale's Rudd Center for Food Policy, USA - Mar 10

The impact on children of food product placement in the movies - Medical News Today - Feb 10

'No-fry zones' near schools aimed at tackling a weighty issue - Irish Times, Feb 10
Local councillors are now considering imposing a "no-fry zone" around schools, banning the opening of fast-food outlets within 400m (1,300ft) of a schoolyard in a bid to wean children off fatty foods inthe UK.

TV product placement: Bradshaw bans nasties - The Guardian, Feb 10

 - TV producers will not be allowed to use any branded alcohol, junk food or gambling when making programmes.

Related article: Business attacks limits on product placement - Financial Times, UK, Feb 10

Related statement: Written Ministerial statement on product placement - Dept for Culture, Media and Sport, UK,  Feb 10

Parents furious over hypocrisy of cereal ad - The Independent, UK, Feb 10

Parents have accused the cereal maker Kellogg's of hypocrisy for suggesting pupils snack on Coco Pops while publicly backing a UK Government campaign against child obesity. Parents complain that adverts with the slogan "Ever thought of Coco Pops after schools?" urge children to fill up on the sugary cereal in the afternoon instead of something healthier. Christine Haigh of the Children's Food Campaign inthe UK claimed that the cereal maker's advertising did not tally with its role as a partner for Change4Life. "It's outrageous that Kellogg's, which is a partner of Change4Life, is encouraging children to eat more of their sugary products," she said.

Fast food menus with calorie information lead to lower calorie selections for young children - Medical News Today , USA , Jan 10

In a new study, the amount of calories selected by parents for their child's hypothetical meal at McDonald's restaurants were reduced by an average of 102 calories when the menus clearly showed the calories for each item. Led by researcher Pooja S. Tandon, MD, from Seattle Children's Research Institute, these findings support nutritional menu labeling and show that when parents have access to this information they may make smarter meal choices for their children. Tips also included for eating out with children.
Related research article - Pediatrics Online Journal, USA, Jan 10

Romania introduces Junk Food Tax -, Jan 10

Backlash over plan to extend TV advertising - UK, The Guardian, Jan 10

Related news piece - Junkfood marketing by the back door - British Heart Foundation, Jan 10

Parents are being misled by snack labelling - Evening Herald, Dec 09

Related news piece - British Heart Foundation, Dec 09
Related report - How parents are being Misled - BHF, Dec 08 (see also below on this page)

Marketing of Food and Beverages to Children - Stakeholder views on policy options in Ireland - Summary Findings from the PolMark project

Related Press Release - PolMark16th Dec 09

Advertisers increasingly target children - Daily Telegraph, Dec 09

Children are being held captive by the rise of "aggressive" advertising aimed at their home, school and leisure time, according to a major Government-backed report. The study said the trend was leading to a rise in "pester power" as children increasingly nagged parents for the most expensive brands and latest technology. In some cases, parents insisted their ability to control sons and daughters was being undermined by marketing campaigns aimed at schoolchildren.

Related report: The impact of the commercial world in children's wellbeing: Report of an independent assessment. - UK Department for Children, Schools and Families, Dec 09

Health doubts as McDonald's provides one in five Olympic meals  - The Guardian, Dec 09

Health campaigners have warned that attempts to use the London 2012 Olympics to improve public health may be undermined by the announcement that one in five meals served to fans at the games will come from McDonald's.  The British Heart Foundation and the National Obesity Forum said the Olympics food strategy undermined claims from Lord Coe and Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister, that one of the main legacies of hosting the Olympics will be improved health across the nation.

Kids eat less junk food when Middle Schools stop providing it - Medical News Today, Dec 09

Take the junk food out of school vending machines and cafeterias, and kids will eat less junk food, according to a new study that took place in Connecticut.

Related Article: 
The impact of removing snacks of low nutritional value from Middle Schools (Health Education and Behaviour 01/12/09) - Full journal article requires access.

Nestlé aims to add value to cereal box with 3-D game -, Nov 09

A recent food industry newsletter highlighted how boxes of children's breakfast cereal will now contain 3-D games. Smart packaging is a growing marketing tool and in November Nestlé cereal boxes sold in France will have an integrated 3D animation function that encourages children to log onto brand websites.

What's in your breakfast? - Dispatches TV Programme, Channel 4, Oct 09

In this edition of Dispatches, reporter Jane Moore reveals how nutritious the UK's breakfasts really are and the marketing techniques employed by this lucrative industry. Dispatches investigates the evidence provided to support the health claims made and asks if some of the healthy-sounding cereals and pro-biotic yoghurts are all they are cracked up to be.

Least healthy cereals are the ones most aggressively marketed to children, US study  - Medical News Today, Oct 09

Research, by a team from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and reported in The Cereal Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score (FACTS) Report found that the cereals that are most frequently and aggressively marketed directly to American children as young as 2 were also the least healthy.

Related report: Evaluating the nutrition quality and marketing of children's cereals -Rudd Centre for Food Policy and Obesity, Oct 09

Leisure centre 'junk food' alert - BBC News, Oct 09

Vending machines stocked with unhealthy snacks in leisure centres run the risk of fuelling childhood obesity, warn experts. A report from the British Heart Foundation has found that crisps and chocolate are on sale where children exercise despite being banned from schools and children's TV.

Fit children given fat food choices - British Heart Foundation, Oct 09 

Related Report: 
A Fit Choice? - The Food Commission on behalf of the British Heart Foundation, Oct 09

A Fit Choice report reveals how places where children go to get fit and active - including leisure centres, bowling alleys, ice skating rinks and park cafes - undermine the fight against childhood obesity by offering kids a barrage of unhealthy products through vending machines and junk food meal deals.

Study Backs Kids' TV Junk Food Ad Ban, Australia - Medical News Today, Aug 09

A new study provides clear evidence of the health benefits of banning TV junk food advertising aimed at children. Research conducted by Prof Boyd Swinburn and his colleagues at the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Obesity Prevention at Deakin University found banning junk food ads aimed at children would lead to a 1.4 per cent, or 540 grams, reduction in the average weight of an Australian child.

Internet games influence kids' snack choices,
 Reuters, Jul 09

Sponsorship normalising unhealthy food, Irish Medical Times, Jul 09

Proposed new Broadcasting Authority can protect children's health, Jun 09

Weighty issue of TV diets, Irish Times, Jun 09

Related article - How the power of advertising hits parents, Irish Times, Jun 09

Irish Heart Foundation and National Heart Alliance urge parents to join the campaign against food marketing to children, Jun 09

Food Giants serve up a €1.2bn dish to children - Sunday Independent, Jun 09

Junk Food Babies - Childrens Food Campaign UK, Sustain, May 09

This report shows the findings of a survey of more than one hundred foods marketed for babies and young children and exposes just how high in saturated fat, salt and sugar many of these foods are. 

By how much would limiting TV food advertising reduce childhood obesity? - European Journal of Public Health, April 09

Researchers have recently tried to quantify the effect of TV food advertising on childhood obesity in the USA. Their article in the European Journal of Public Health reported that TV food advertising may be responsible for 15-40% of obesity among 6-12 year old children. The researchers concluded that limiting advertising of high-calorie foods could well be an element in a broader effort to make children's diets healthier.

Going against the Grain - Which? UK, April 09

A good breakfast is an important start to the day, but your cereal might not be as healthy as you think!

In this recent report by Which? in the UK, they have taken a look at the cereal market - to find out what's in the most popular varieties, whether it is easy to find healthy options and what more can be done to increase choice.

The report also has a useful section on Kids Cereals and how these are marketed to children and parents.

Related report: Cereal Nutrition: Full Report - sugar, salt, fat and saturate nutritional information for the top 100 cereals on the market in the UK - Which? UK, Apr 09

Shamburger - a clever online campaign in Australia calling for a ban on junk food advertising. The Coalition on Food Advertising to Children, Australia, Apr 09

Don't expose children to even more advertising for sugary cereals and salty crisps  - Sustain, Mar 09. Related article

Getting on famously: Celebs and junk food - The Food Commission, UK, Mar 09

US Government moves to regulate food advertising to teens - Food Navigator, Mar 09

New Media, Same Old Tricks - A survey of the marketing of food to children on food company websites - Consumers International, Mar 09

This study looks at websites of the top 10 food and drink companies by advertising spend to assess the methods used to promote unhealthy food and drink to children under 16.  - related press release by Consumers International.

     Snapshot of report:

  • New report finds junk food companies still enticing children online.
  • Own-brand website promotions question industry commitments to reducing junk food marketing.
  • Small print warnings and 'Hey Kids. This is advertising!' - a poor attempt to meet parents' concerns.

Save the couch potato children with a  TV ban on junk food ads - Irish Daily Mail, Mar 2009

Pecan pie loses the battle of the bulge - The Herald (UK), Mar 2009

Complaint against Domino's Pizza sponsorship of The Simpsons is upheld - National Heart Forum (UK), Feb 2009 

Ireland's biggest problem - Sunday Business Post Agenda, Feb 2009

While everyone agrees we have become an overweight and obese nation, there is less consensus about how to tackle the problem...

How Parents are Being Misled - A campaign report on children's food marketing - British Heart Foundation & The Food Commission, UK, Dec 2008

Snapshot of report:

  • The report lifts the lid on how food manufacturers are using legal loopholes and playing on parent's fears and aspirations to market junk food for children.
  • Marketers are sidestepping the regulations which govern the advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar intended for children and are now bombarding parents with a riot of messages about what is supposedly best for their children.

Broadcasting Bill to crackdown on fatty food ads - Shelflife, Dec 2008

Ads make kids fatter - Shelflife, Dec 2008

Changes in food and drink advertising and promotion to children - Department of Health (UK), Oct 2008

The Department of Health in the UK reviewed the restrictions on TV food advertising to children and showed how much each section of the media was spending on marketing food to children.

Snapshot of report:

  • Between 2003 and 2007 there has been a decrease in the total amount of money spent by food companies on advertisements to children but this is not the case for all media.
  • However, TV is the only medium to have seen consistent reductions in the amount of money spent on food marketing to children.
  • Work to protect children from other forms of food marketing such as sponsorship in schools, store promotions and packaging has moved more slowly.

Cereal Offences -A Wakeup call on the marketing of unhealthy food to children - Consumers International, Oct 2008

The global consumer organisation, Consumers International, co-ordinated a survey in 32 countries of breakfast cereals marketed to children.

Snapshot of report:

  • Popular breakfast cereals marketed at children often contain excessive amounts of added salt and added sugar.
  • Some children's breakfast cereals even contain more sugar than an iced doughnut or more salt than seawater.
  • Many marketing techniques are used to make these products as attractive as possible to children. Examples include cartoon characters, celebrity tie-ins, TV advertising and websites developed especially for children.
  • The promotion of these products is fuelling the obesity epidemic and is undermining efforts to promote healthy diets.


TV Food Advertising Restrictions - Which?, Sept 2008

In the UK there are currently restrictions limiting the advertising of unhealthy foods during programmes of interest to children under 16 years. The UK consumer body Which? analysed TV viewing data to see whether the programmes most watched by children were covered by the restrictions.

Snapshot of report:

  • None of the top five most popular programmes watched by children on commercial channels were covered by the restrictions.
  • All of these programmes contained adverts for a range of less healthy products.
  • Programmes 'of particular appeal to under 16s' are determined not by the actual number of children watching but by the proportion.  If the proportion of children under 16 watching a programme is 20% higher than the general viewing population, the restrictions apply. However, even if a large number of children are watching a show, the restrictions will not apply if there is also a large adult audience.
  • Programmes such as 'Beat the Star', 'Animals do the Funniest Things' 'Emmerdale' and 'Coronation Street' were not covered, even though they had many more children watching them.

Healthy Choices' Parents Survey Findings -, May 2008

The parenting website Rollercoaster surveyed parents on their thoughts about children's diet and lifestyle.

Snapshot of survey:

  • 13% feel advertisers are most to blame for the problem of child obesity and 11% blame food manufacturers.
  • One third of Parents find it hard to say no to their child's demands for treats. 
  • 1 in 5 children spend 3-4 hours a day watching TV / playing electronic games.

Press Release of launch of Children's Food Campaign - NHA & IHF, 8th May 2008

Recommendations for an International Code on Marketing of Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children - International Taskforce on Obesity, Consumers International, March 2008

The global consumer organisation, Consumers International, and the International Taskforce on Obesity jointly published recommendations for an international code on marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children.

      Snapshot of report:

  • The Code aims to protect children from the consequences of eating unhealthy food and to promote responsible food marketing by restricting the marketing of these products to children.
  • There should be no marketing to children of foods high in fat, sugar or salt or brands associated with such foods.
  • The restriction should include all advertisements and promotions broadcast between the hours of 06.00 and 21.00.
  • Children should also be protected from unhealthy food marketing from non-broadcast media such as sponsorship and indirect advertising to parents/guardians.


Protecting Children from Unhealthy Food Marketing - British Heart Foundation and Sustain, UK, January 2008