NIHR Obesity Policy Research Unit at UCL


Analysis and description of timing of advertising of food on TV


This project provides evidence on children’s exposure to television advertising for high fat, sugar or salt food and drink. 


At present, food and drink products that are high in fat, sugar or salt are not allowed to be advertised during children’s television. There have been calls to extend these restrictions to all television advertising prior to the 9pm watershed. 

Aims and methodology

We describe how the advertising that children are exposed to varies across the day, the portion that is either side of the 9pm watershed, how much occurs during children’s programming, so is subject to current restrictions, and how much is for products that have a nutritional profile score (used to measures whether food and drinks are high fat, sugar or salt) above the current threshold for regulation. 
We use advertising data from AC Nielsen and the Broadcasters Audience Research Board, which contains details of television adverts, including the brand advertised, date and time of airing, channel and programme. We combine this with nutritional information from the Kantar Worldpanel which enables us to construct nutritional profile scores for each product advertised in order to look at how much of the advertising that children see is for products that have a nutritional profile score above the current threshold for regulation.


December 2017 – March 2018