WHO, junk food alert: the commercials hidden on the web

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The World Health Organization-WHO raises an alarm against junk food advertised through the web, which is the most familiar environment for children. Social media, blogs, and apps have become vehicles for junk food promotional messages, among the main contributors to the childhood obesity epidemic.

In the WHO report, harsh criticism emerges of governments for failing to monitor the effects of a phenomenon that has changed consumption and advertising patterns, and strong concern about initiatives that result in real traps. This is the case with fast (junk) food restaurants that attract young people to their premises, which have been turned into important locations of augmented reality projects such as Pokemon Go. The trend seems to escape parents completely as well. Yet an analysis conducted in the United States shows that bloggers are now more influential than TV or film.

The director of the WHO program for nutrition, physical activity and obesity has complained to BBC News about major gaps in the regulations that are supposed to protect minors from junk food advertising. The laws only affect traditional media, and they have failed to keep pace with the well-established change favoring digital media.