Junk food ads could be banned before 9pm to fight obesity

Keiligh Baker's picture

The Government is considering whether to ban adverts for junk food from appearing online and on television before 9pm.

At the moment ads for food and drink that are classed as being high in fat, salt or sugar are only forbidden in or on any dedicated children's media - for example, on TV channels specifically for children.

Steve Brine, the public health minister, told The Times: “It is not right that our children are so widely exposed to adverts promoting foods high in fat, sugar and salt.”

“This isn’t about banning everyday staples like butter and olive oil, it’s about reducing children’s exposure to those products that have little nutritional value but that are part of a wider climate that is driving childhood obesity,” Mr Brine added.

Max Davie, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, added: “A 9pm watershed on junk food marketing across all media is a crucial step towards tackling childhood obesity.”

Top spending crisp, confectionery and sugary drinks companies in the UK spend £143 million a year on advertising compared to just £5 million spent annually by the Government on its healthy eating campaigns, research by the Obesity Health Alliance found.

The Advertising Association said that ads for unhealthy products were in decline and Tim Rycroft, of the Food and Drink Federation, said that the plans were “insulting” at a time when government was pleading with companies to prioritise no-deal Brexit planning.

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