TORONTO – Kids who don’t see a cheeseburger Happy Meal when they watch TV are less likely to bug their parents to have one, according to a Canadian study.
Ban fast food ads targeting children and watch obesity rates decline – it’s a simple recommendation, and one a University of British Columbia marketing and policy expert suggests it’s key to helping Canadian children avoid unhealthy eating.
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After studying Quebec households, Sauder School of Business professor Tirtha Dhar found that advertising bans that bar commercials aimed at children resulted in fewer kids eating fast food and kids who weighed less than their national counterparts.
In 1980, Quebec imposed legislation that banned advertisements for toys and fast food aimed at children under 13 in print and electronic media. The legislation was the first of its kind.
Dhar is the first to study the impact of Quebec’s landmark decision.
Under the three-decades-old Quebec Consumer Protection Act, television shows with an audience made up of at least 15 per cent of kids cannot air child-targeted ads. Instead, ads for cars or dishwasher detergent are aired during Saturday morning cartoons while adult-friendly programmed is usually paired with toy ads.