Britain's Food Advertising Unit, an ad industry-funded body representing multinational food companies, agencies and the broadcast media, on Tuesday hit back at calls for government controls on TV advertising of processed foods to children.

FAU director Jeremy Preston, insists the industry is already taking steps to ensure that child-directed ads toe voluntary guidelines on the marketing of foods high in salt, sugar and fat to children..

Refuting the need for state intervention, Preston argues: "The views of food advertisers and broadcasters are no different from those of Professor Philip James [an interventionist advocate] in their wish to tackle successfully the issue of obesity amongst children and adults.

"The industry is fully engaged in the current reviews to restrict the advertising codes, which are being conducted by Ofcom and the Department of Health-led Food and Drink Advertising and Promotion Forum."

He added: "According to Ofcom's 2004 analysis an average child only sees five ads every day for any food product out of a possible twenty-eight ads for any product, and only two of these are viewed in children's airtime. It is therefore important that all responses or code changes reflect this proportionately."

Data sourced from Institute of Practitioners in Advertising; additional content by WARC staff