Purpose. To identify and review evidence on 1) the effectiveness of statutory and self-regulatory actions to reduce the volume, exposure or wider impact of advertising for foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) to children, and 2) the role of educational measures.
Design/methodology/approach. A systematic review of three databases (Medline, CINAHL and PsycINFO) and grey literature. Relevant evidence included studies evaluating advertising bans and restrictions, advertising literacy programmes and parental communication styles. Relevant media included TV, internet, radio, magazines and newspaper advertising. No studies were excluded based on language or publication date.
Findings. Forty-seven publications were included: 19 provided evidence for the results of statutory regulation, 25 for self-regulation, and six for educational approaches. Outcome measures varied in approach, quality and results. Findings suggested statutory regulation could reduce the volume of and children's exposure to advertising for foods HFSS, and had potential to impact more widely. Self-regulatory approaches showed varied results in reducing children's exposure. There was some limited support for educational measures.
Discussion. Consistency in measures from evaluations over time would assist the development and interpretation of the evidence base on successful actions and measures to reduce the volume, exposure and impact of advertising for foods HFSS to children.