LONDON: Despite the loudly-trumpeted curbs on 'junk' food advertising to children imposed last year on UK marketers, it appears these are having little effect on the nation's weightier youngsters.

As a consequence the Department of Health has reportedly set up a secret investigation, in conjunction with media regulator Ofcom, into the current ad rules and whether they are being followed by purveyors of foods high in fat, salt or sugar.

The investigators are said to be concerned that firms are technically sticking to the agreement but are flouting its spirit and subtly changing the tone of their advertising.

McDonald's is one of the companies in the spotlight and insists is it abiding by the rules. A spokesman said, however, it would "love to see the DoH's definition of spirit and tone".

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff