Ad ban during children's airtime to continue

Restrictions of unhealthy foods to continue, says Ofcom.

Ofcom is to continue with the current advertising restrictions on products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) during children's airtime, and around programmes with a "disproportionately high child audience".

The regulator, which announced a ban on the scheduling of HFSS advertising in 2006, said it was "satisfied" that broadcasters have sufficiently adhered to the restrictions and regulations. Ofcom noted that the restrictions had reduced children's exposure to HFSS advertising by 37 per cent in 2009 compared to that in 2005.

While Ofcom expected the restrictions to reduce the exposure of 4 to 15-year-olds to HFSS advertising by 41 per cent, it actually reduced by 52 per cent among the children aged 4-9 years, and by 22 per cent in 10-15 years age group.

The regulator also said that the ban led to "a sharp drop in HFSS advertising featuring various advertising techniques considered attractive to children, such as popular cartoon characters".