Junk food companies gorge on children's prime-time TV slots

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The Independent Online

If your child were to eat all the food advertised during a typical five hours of children's programming, he or she would consume three times the recommended daily amount of calories for a seven- to 10-year-old.

If your child were to eat all the food advertised during a typical five hours of children's programming, he or she would consume three times the recommended daily amount of calories for a seven- to 10-year-old.

This is the finding of an Independent on Sunday survey of advertising aimed at children during viewing periods on Friday evening and yesterday morning.

Sandwiched between popular shows such as Fingertips and Help I'm a Teenage Outlaw, we found there were four adverts for McDonald's, two for Kinder chocolate eggs, two for Nestlé chocolate bars and one for Walkers crisps - a total of nine adverts.

Two further programmes were sponsored by food manufacturers, which means their names appear in-between every break.

Kids watching CD:UK, a Saturday morning chart show, are encouraged to drink Ribena and those watching The Ministry of Mayhem are exposed on several occasions to Walkers' Monster Munch.

The ads were shown during the peak Friday viewing slot of 4pm to 6pm and yesterday morning between 9am and 12 noon.

Disturbingly, many of the adverts use free offers of toys and CDs to tempt children.

Kellogg's Corn Flakes offered plastic models of characters from The Simpsons which could be attached to bicycle wheels.

But the companies have reduced their advertising on children's television by 22 per cent during the past year. In September, 10,000 fewer ads were screened than in the same month last year.

Additional reporting by Lauren Meade

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