• South Korea has banned energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods on television ads aimed at children.
• Chile has introduced a ban on junk food ads, although the ban is currently being challenged in court.
• Singapore has promised to introduce guidelines regarding junk food ads, although the guidelines may be voluntary.
• Norway has proposed a ban on ads for high-fat, -sugar, and -salt foods directed to anyone under 18.
IASO issues a regular roundup of obesity-related news, including marketing news, on its website at http://www.iaso.org/resources/obesity-news.
Like the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), the International Food and Beverage Alliance has issued pledges to limit marketing to children. This policy has improved over time, although it still has uncertain definitions and other limitations. It is not clear whether the policy covers all advertising, including integrated marketing techniques (discussed in Chapter 4). Also, the policy defines “advertising to children under 12 years” as advertising in child-directed media for which 35 percent or more of the audience is under age 12, which, Lobstein asserted, occurs only occasionally during peak periods of children’s television viewing.
An IASO (2012) report on changes in Europe showed a decline of 29 percent in children’s exposure to television ads for noncompliant foods from the first quarter of 2005 to the first quarter of 2011. But this is not enough, said Lobstein, especially given the weak definitions of what foods can and cannot be advertised to children.
In a comparison of 34 children’s products that industry still allows itself to advertise, IASO found that the UK and Irish restrictions would ban all but 6, the Norwegian proposals would ban all but 3, the proposals from the interagency working group in the United States would ban all but 2, and an industry-supported forum in Denmark would ban all 34. The Danish forum is a coregulatory body involving both government and industry, which could serve as a model for such bodies elsewhere.
Recent studies of the voluntary pledge initiatives found no significant improvements in food and beverage advertising to children in Australia (King et al., 2012), Canada (Potvin Kent et al., 2011), Germany (Effertz and Wilcke, 2012), or Spain (Romero-Fernández et al., 2010). By contrast, improvements have been identified in South Korea and the United Kingdom, both of which introduced statutory regulations rather than voluntary pledges. In addition, red, amber, or green lights on products in the United Kingdom according to various levels of fat, sugar, and salt