With approximately one-third of children in the UK now classed as either overweight or obese and many families choosing to spend their evenings in front of the television, authorities are concerned that junk food advertising is becoming a problem.
Campaign group Action on Junk Food Marketing - which has been formed by the British Heart Foundation - is calling for a watershed to be introduced that applies to adverts showing unhealthy foods, after it carried out an investigation in association with the University of Liverpool into the number that appeared during peak-time television programmes.
The organisation analysed the amount of junk food adverts that were shown during a number of popular family entertainment programmes and found that one in ten were promoting confectionery or fast food.
Adverts from a range of brands including Aldi, Morrisons, Domino's, KFC, Cadbury and Flora were the biggest culprits when it came to promoting unhealthy products, with 11 per cent of all adverts shown during a 20-hour period featuring such items.
Of all food advertisements, 50 per cent were for unhealthy products, which has led Action for Junk Food Marketing to call for a 21:00 watershed to be introduced for such promotions.
Chief executive of the British Heart Foundation Simon Gillespie said: "Parents don't expect their children to be bombarded with ads for unhealthy food during primetime TV, but that's exactly what happens. Even when the show is over, junk food marketers could be reaching out to young people online."
One-third of the adverts included a hashtag for use on social networking site Twitter, to further target younger people and encourage them to purchase the products. This is despite them being high in fat, salt and sugar, all of which could potentially lead to health problems in the future, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In addition to this, 53 per cent of the junk food adverts used children to promote their products, while 31 per cent emphasised that an unhealthy product was 'fun'.