A OFCOM - autoridade reguladora dos media no Reino Unido, acaba de tornar público o relatório de uma pesquisa baseada na inquirição de mais de duas mil pessoas, relativo ao tema da publicidade de alimentos dirigida a crianças. Intitulado Food advertising to children in context, o estudo aponta para as seguintes conclusões:
"The evidence shows that television advertising has a modest direct effect on children's food consumption. However, the significance of this is small when compared to other factors potentially linked to childhood obesity such as exercise, trends in family eating habits inside and outside the home, parents' demographics, school policy, public understanding of nutrition, food labelling and other forms of food promotion.Uma versão do documento pode ser lida AQUI.
On that basis, Ofcom has concluded that a total ban on such advertising would be both ineffective and disproportionate in its wider impact, for the following reasons:
The evidence from Ofcom's research shows that 70% of children's viewing takes place outside of children's airtime, traditionally defined as the after-school slot on weekdays, Saturday mornings and throughout the day on dedicated children's channels on cable and satellite.
Other countries have banned aspects of television advertising to children. However, research into the effects of this is limited. Where research has been undertaken the findings are both unclear and contested.
In the absence of an objective system categorising defined foods, such a ban would be unavoidably absolute; it would remove the right to advertise any food or drink product, regardless as to actual nutritional value or potentially positive contribution to health.
A ban would undermine the likely investment in children's programming on commercial television, reducing choice and innovation for younger audiences.
The research identifies childhood obesity as a multi-faceted problem which will require further work by a number of agencies, Government departments and the food industry.
Ofcom will continue to work with the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) in their analysis of childhood obesity and has shared the detail of its research findings with both organisations.
Once the Health White Paper has been published and the FSA has completed its nutritional profiling of all food products later this year, Ofcom will examine the conclusions arising from that work and will assess the extent to which these should be reflected in the Advertising Code.
Separately, Ofcom's own research has identified potential targeted areas of change which will be the subject of a public consultation in the autumn. That consultation will take into account the views expressed by parents during the course of Ofcom's research and relevant outcomes from the work of the Department of Health and the FSA. Ofcom's research demonstrates that most parents:
Do not support an outright ban on television advertising.
Support the need for better information about the nutritional content of the products being advertised.
Would like advertisements directed at young children to be less attractive, for example by avoiding the use of cartoon characters.
Support the use of targeted scheduling restrictions(...)."