Are you concerned about food ads to kids? Here’s your chance to share your thoughts!
Health Canada is now seeking YOUR comments on a policy update on Restricting Food Advertising Primarily Directed at Children. While kids see food ads in a variety of media platforms, food packages, sports sponsorships and settings (such as stores, theaters and rec centres), this first phase of the policy will focus on food advertising seen on television and digital media.
Your comments can help shape the draft regulations.
The full policy update is available here, and below I’ve listed some important background below.
- As part of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy, the government is planning to restrict advertising to children of foods that contribute to excess intakes of sodium, sugars and saturated fat.
- By limiting kids’ exposure to influential food advertising, Health Canada aims to lower a child’s risk now and later for developing overweight / obesity as well as diet-related diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, different types of cancer, dental disease and osteoporosis.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, children’s screen time increased, leading to potentially more exposure to food advertising.
- Research from 2022 found that Canadian kids aged 2-6 years spend 24 hours each week watching TV / videos / YouTube and using social media / gaming. For kids aged 7-11, this figure rises to 30 hours per week.
- On average, kids see 5 food ads per day on TV and 4 per day on social media. Teens see about 27 food ads on social media daily.
Health Canada is hosting webinars to discuss the policy update.
Health Canada is specifically looking for comments related to:
- Defining advertising that is primarily directed to children
- Targeting restrictions to advertising on TV and digital media
- Restricting advertising for foods that contribute excess intakes of sodium, sugars or saturated fat
You may also send comments by June 12, 2023 to:
Bureau of Policy, Intergovernmental and International Affairs, Food Directorate
Health Products and Food Branch, Health Canada
251 Sir Frederick Banting
Postal Locator 2204C
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9
References: Health Canada (April 28, 2023). Policy update on restricting food advertising primary directed at children: Overview. https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/healthy-eating-strategy/policy-update-restricting-food-advertising-primarily-directed-children.html