A Canadian study found that children are less likely to pester their parents for a cheeseburger Happy Meal if they don’t see one on TV. But did you know that banning ads for toys and fast food was effective in lowering childhood obesity in Quebec?
Quebec prohibited fast food and toy advertisements for children under the age of 13, which reduced the prevalence of childhood obesity.
No Fast Food Advertisements
It’s a straightforward suggestion, but one that a University of British Columbia marketing and policy expert believes is essential to assisting Canadian children in avoiding unhealthy eating. Ban fast food advertisements aimed at children and watch obesity rates decline.
Professor Tirtha Dhar of the Sauder School of Business discovered after studying Quebec households that children were less likely to consume fast food and were smaller than their national peers due to advertising restrictions that forbade commercials directed at children. (Source: Global News)
What were the Benefits of Banning These Ads?
Advertising for toys and fast food directed at children under 13 was outlawed in print and electronic media in Quebec in 1980. The law was groundbreaking in its field. Dhar is the first to analyze the results of Quebec’s historical judgment.
According to the three-decades-old Quebec Consumer Protection Act, a television program cannot air child-targeted advertisements if at least 15% of the audience is children. Instead, advertisements for automobiles or dishwasher detergent are shown during Saturday morning cartoons, and toy advertisements typically accompany adult-oriented programming.
The Bureau of Broadcast Measurement (BBM Canada) gathers information on audience demographics, then used to decide which commercials can run alongside particular programs.
Fast food chains, such as McDonald’s can still advertise during late-night shows, but not during afternoon cartoons. To the best of my knowledge, this is the most comprehensive advertising regulation targeting children.Tirtha Dhar, Sauder School of Business Professor
In the last ten years, nations like Greece, Norway, and the United Kingdom have joined Quebec in outlawing toy advertisements on television between the hours of seven in the morning. And 10 p.m. In Sweden, all advertising directed at children younger than 12 is prohibited. (Source: Global News)
Quebec Holding On Its Own
According to Canada’s Childhood Obesity Foundation, about 26% of the country’s 2- to 17-year-olds are overweight or obese, with childhood obesity rates having nearly tripled in the past 25 years.
Even though statistics show that children in the province lead one of the most sedentary lifestyles, Dhar said, citing 2005 Statistics Canada data, Quebec has one of the lowest rates of childhood obesity in Canada.
According to the researchers, the statistics were collected before the development of Internet and social media advertising in the 1980s and 1990s.
Dhar adds that policymakers shouldn’t view the outlawing of fast food advertisements as the panacea for the nation’s rising obesity rates.
Advertising regulations targeting children can be part of a comprehensive package to battle obesityTirtha Dhar, Sauder School of Business Professor
According to Dhar, a ban on fast food advertising would also be advantageous to businesses. The common defense is that by cultivating a devoted consumer at a young age, advertising to children contributes to customer lifetime equity. (Source: Global News)
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