Early results suggest Chilean food marketing policy is reducing children’s exposure to junk food ads.
In 2016, Chile introduced a policy to restrict child-directed marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages. A study has looked at 12-14 year old’s exposure to ads that were high in energy, total sugars, sodium, or saturated fat and their consumption of unhealthy foods before and after the policy implementation. It found that the policy has reduced adolescents’ exposure to ads for unhealthy foods. The study only found a change in consumption of unhealthy foods and drink in those adolescents who were not high consumers of advertising before the policy was introduced.
The researchers suggest that it may be too early to expect changes in consumption given all the factors that influence food consumption including awareness of products and brands, preferences, and attitudes. Follow up studies will be worthwhile given the 2016 policy related to television content for an audience under 14 years, whereas the next stage of the policy implemented in 2018 extended restrictions to all television between 6am and 10pm.