Violation of Food Advertising Regulations in Iran: A Systematic Review

Maryam Amini, Delaram Ghodsi, Azizollaah Zargaraan, Sepideh Alibeyk, Maryam HajigholamSaryazdi


Background: The prevalence of non‑communicable diseases (NCDs) and the status of nutritionally high‑risk behaviors in the country are not promising. Because of undeniable impact of media advertising on food choices, to combat the problem some regulations on food advertisements are developed in the country. However, the high prevalence of NCDs warns of the possibility that either the laws are not given the necessary attention or they are not implemented properly. Therefore in the present review, all studies on how the country’s visual and written mass media comply with regulations related to food product advertisement were systematically reviewed. Methods: We searched all studies, including Persian and English articles, dissertations, and research projects, published and unpublished reports in eight domestic and international databases and search engines during the years 1996 to December of 2020 (25 years). Then, the content of the eligible studies was extracted, evaluated, and reported. Results: A total of 18 eligible studies (articles and reports) were included in the review. The results indicated violations of rules and regulations including displaying food products of low nutritional value and obese people, misleading/exaggerating claims, award offers, induction of gluttony, consumerism, and inconsistency with scientific facts. Most of the studies (55%) had, implicitly or explicitly, targeted children and adolescents. Conclusions: The results of this study indicated a violation of the rules and regulations of health policies, mainly in the field of promoting foods of low nutritional value during the study period. Violations of the ban on advertising for children were also reported in more than half of the studies.


Advertisement; food products; health policy; health regulation; mass media; systematic review

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