A Cancer Research UK report has warned that children get hungry and are tempted to eat junk food after watch advertisements of unhealthy foodstuff. According to the charity, junk food commercials tempt children as they find the ads funny.
Researchers interviewed 137 children from six schools in England and Scotland to gauge the effect advertisements had on them. Some of the children described the commercials to be "addictive" and pointed out that they wanted to lick TV screens when they spot a junk food advert. Many students even said that they could recall jingles of advertisements for sweets, crisps or fast food products.
Most children claimed that they were exposed to fast food commercials during family TV time, which is between 7 and 9pm.
Primary school children and those between eight and 12 years were shown advertisements, which they said made them hungry. The charity also found that children would nag parents to get them unhealthy food after viewing TV commercials, although promotion of junk food products is banned during children's TV shows in the UK.
A recent online poll showed that 74% of the UK public supported a ban on promoting junk food on TV before 9pm. The Cancer Research team also warned of obesity and related issues that arise as a result of such "tempting" advertisements.
"The Government must be bold and remove junk food ads from TV before the 9pm watershed if they want to reduce childhood obesity," said Chit Selvarajah, the charity's policy manager. He reinstated that the influence of TV commercials on childhood obesity is a major problem and is too important to ignore.
Meanwhile, a primary student interviewed by the charity in North Lanarkshire said that watching TV commercials for sweets made her happy. "It feels like you want to try it because the guy's dancing in it because he's eaten it and it tastes good," she said.
"You might be eating a piece of fruit, you might see the advert, and you might just throw it in the bin and ask your mum for money and leg it to the shop," a class six boy from Northamptonshire said.
Alison Cox, director of prevention at the charity said: "The rise in children's obesity is a huge concern and a growing epidemic. There must be no delay in taking action. We know that obese children are around five times more likely to be obese adults, and obese adults are more likely to develop cancer."
Cox called to regulate such advertisings on TV before the 9pm watershed "to give children a better chance of a healthy life".