Highlighted in bright orange are countries that have implemented a watershed on TV advertising of foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt (unhealthy foods) to protect children from manipulative commercial communications during times they watch most (none). Countries that will be implementing such a watershed within the next 1-2 years are highlighted in light orange. 

The exposure of children and adolescents to advertising and other commercial communications for unhealthy foods has been authoritatively linked with different outcomes associated with childhood obesity, including more positive attitudes to unhealthy food, greater consumption of unhealthy foods and greater body weight.

Various statutory restrictions and industry self-regulatory commitments exist to limit marketing to children. Existing measures, however, do not go far enough. But most importantly, current measures do not address the real problem, which is the exposure to advertising. Children watch different types of programmes, not only those that are specifically made for children. This is especially so when children are conceived in accordance with international law as all individuals below 18. A watershed, or a ban to air commercials between certain hours of the day during which children watch most, appears to be the most appropriate way to limit the exposure to health-harming commercial communications, apart from a full ban on such communications.

Countries with a watershed on TV advertising of unhealthy food

Portugal –  Bill banning HFSS food advertising during children’s programmes, as well as 30 minutes before and after the programmes where under 16 years old children make up at least 25% of the audience. 

In progress

United Kingdom – implementation of a watershed on TV advertising until 9 pm by the end of 2022 

SpainRegulation to come through a royal decree on marketing to children on TV, radio, cinemas, internet, socials media and mobile applications

Policies for healthy living environments

POLICY MAPPING / FOOD ENVIRONMENTS

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Latest update: December 9, 2021

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