Children and the digital marketing of food

Food marketing has been identified as an important contributor to the “obesogenic” environment, in which foods high in fats, salt and sugars are promoted extensively, are more visible and are cheaper and easier to obtain than healthy options. Food marketing has been shown consistently to influence children’s food preferences and choices, shape their dietary habits and increase their risk of becoming obese.

In the absence of effective regulation of digital media in many countries, children are increasingly exposed to persuasive, individually tailored marketing techniques through, for example, social media sites and “advergames”.

For the first time, researchers and health experts have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of digital marketing to children of foods high in fats, salt and sugars. The findings are published in a new report from the WHO Regional Office for Europe, ‘Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives’, which calls for immediate action by policy-makers to recognize and address the growing issue of marketing targeted to children via digital media.

Download the report on Children and the Digital Marketing of Food from the euro.who.int website