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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Report Downplays Food Ad Effects

LONDON -- Contrary to popular belief, television commercials for "unhealthy" snacks are not the main influence on children's eating habits, according to a report commissioned by the British government.

Britain's Advertising Association, which has studied the recently published report, said Friday it welcomed the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food review's findings.

"It confirms our previous research ... that the most important influence on children's diets are their families and that only a very small minority of dietary, as against brand, choices are affected by advertising," said Jonathan Bullock, head of external affairs at the association.

Lobby groups have been pressing the authorities to regulate the way the multibillion-pound advertising industry approaches children.

Food ads, they say, put unfair pressure on parents and spark cravings in kids which they might not otherwise have had.

But according to the 125-page report, researched by independent academics, "there is no evidence to suggest that advertising is the principal influence on children's eating behavior."