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Public Health. 2017 Sep;150:121-129. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2017.05.013. Epub 2017 Jul 1.

Evaluation of compliance with the Spanish Code of self-regulation of food and drinks advertising directed at children under the age of 12 years in Spain, 2012.

Author information

Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Heath, Complutense University of Madrid, Pza. Ramón y Cajal, S/N. Ciudad Universitaria, 28040, Madrid, Spain. Electronic address:
National School of Public Health, Institute of Health Carlos III, Calle Sinesio Delgado, 4, 28029, Madrid, Spain.
Health and Research Canarian Fund, Department of Evaluation and Planning of Canary Island Health Service, Hospital Univ. de Canarias, Pl. -1
Crta. La Cuesta-Taco, 38320, La Laguna, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.
Department of Applied Epidemiology, National Center of Epidemiology, Calle de Sinesio Delgado 10, 28029, Madrid, Spain.



To evaluate compliance levels with the Spanish Code of self-regulation of food and drinks advertising directed at children under the age of 12 years (Publicidad, Actividad, Obesidad, Salud [PAOS] Code) in 2012; and compare these against the figures for 2008.


Cross-sectional study.


Television advertisements of food and drinks (AFD) were recorded over 7 days in 2012 (8am-midnight) of five Spanish channels popular to children. AFD were classified as core (nutrient-rich/low-calorie products), non-core (nutrient-poor/rich-calorie products) or miscellaneous. Compliance with each standard of the PAOS Code was evaluated. AFD were deemed to be fully compliant when it met all the standards.


Two thousand five hundred and eighty-two AFDs came within the purview of the PAOS Code. Some of the standards that registered the highest levels of non-compliance were those regulating the suitability of the information presented (79.4%) and those prohibiting the use of characters popular with children (25%). Overall non-compliance with the Code was greater in 2012 than in 2008 (88.3% vs 49.3%). Non-compliance was highest for advertisements screened on children's/youth channels (92.3% vs. 81.5%; P < 0.001) and for those aired outside the enhanced protection time slot (89.3% vs. 86%; P = 0.015).


Non-compliance with the PAOS Code is higher than for 2008. Given the lack of effectiveness of self-regulation, a statutory system should be adopted to ban AFD directed at minors, or at least restrict it to healthy products.


Childhood obesity; Children; Food advertising; Marketing

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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