herald

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Coke campaign sparks child obesity fears

AN ad campaign by Coca-Cola has been criticised by obesity experts for targeting young children as Ireland nears the top of the table of fat nations.

The Share a Coke marketing drive brands each drink with a forename.

But the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland's (RCPI) policy group on obesity said almost all of the 100 most popular names of seven to eight-year-olds are included in the campaign.

The concerns were voiced amid fears that Ireland will soon top Europe's overweight league and become a nation with the highest number of obese men, women and children.

Slick

Official predictions suggest 90pc of the Irish population will be overweight or obese by 2030. Two-thirds of adults and one-in-four children already fall into this category.

In its first policy paper, The Race We Don't Want to Win, the RCPI group said it is time to protect vulnerable children from "slick advertising campaigns to promote foods and drinks that contribute to obesity by imposing a ban".

Prof Donal O'Shea, co-chair of the policy group, said: "Children should be protected from advertising and marketing of foods and drinks known to increase obesity. We cannot expect that industry will take this responsibility on itself.

"Coca-Cola has an expressed commitment not to market its products to under-12s, yet almost all of the 100 most popular names of seven to eight-year-olds are included in their campaign."

Young camogie player Keelagh Gargan of Fingallians in Swords was on hand yesterday to help show how much sugar is contained in the name-label bottles of Coke.

Coca-Cola did not responded to a request for a comment.

comurphy@herald.ie

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