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Exploring the potential impact of the proposed UK TV and online food advertising regulations: a concept mapping study.

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OBJECTIVES: In July 2020 the UK Government announced an intention to restrict advertisements for products high in fat, salt or sugar on live broadcast, catch-up and on-demand television before 21:00 hours; and paid for online advertising. As no other jurisdiction has implemented similar regulations, there is no empirical evidence about how they might perturb the food system. To guide the regulations' implementation and evaluation, we aimed to develop a concept map to hypothesise their potential consequences for the commercial food system, health and society. METHODS: We used adapted group concept mapping in four virtual workshops with food marketing and regulation experts across academia, civil society, government organisations, and industry (n=14), supported by Miro software. We merged concepts derived from the four workshops to develop a master map and then invited feedback from participants via email to generate a final concept map. RESULTS: The concept map shows how the reactions of stakeholders to the regulations may reinforce or undermine the impact on the commercial food system, health and society. The map shows adaptations made by stakeholders that could reinforce, or undermine, positive impacts on public health. It also illustrates potential weaknesses in the design and implementation of the regulations that could result in little substantial difference to public health. CONCLUSIONS: Prior to the regulations' initial implementation or subsequent iterations, they could be altered to maximise the potential for reinforcing adaptations, minimise the potential for undermining adaptations and ensure they cover a wide range of advertising opportunities and foods. The concept map will also inform the design of an evaluation of the regulations and could be used to inform the design and evaluation of similar regulations elsewhere.



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BMJ Open

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MRC (MC_UU_00006/7)
Department of Health (via National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)) (NIHR133570)
This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research Programme (project number 133570). The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Public Health Research Programme, NIHR, NHS or the Department of Health. HF, MW, JA are supported by the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge [grant number MC/UU/00006/7].