Restricting junk food advertising

A campaign to tackle children's obesity

An infographic showing how junk food tv adverts result in children's "pester power"

What is the campaign about?

Being overweight or obese is the biggest cause of cancer in the UK after smoking. In fact, obesity is linked to 13 different types of cancer but only 15% of people in the UK are aware of the link.

Over one in five children in England are overweight or obese before they start primary school. By the time they leave, this increases to over one in three. The big problem is that obese children are more likely to grow into obese adults, and obese adults are more likely to develop cancer.

We've made some progress

In 2016 the UK Government took steps to tackle the problem. The Childhood Obesity Plan published in August that year included a tax on sugary drinks and a challenge to the food and drink industry to reduce the amount of sugar in their products by 20% by 2020. But without taking action on TV adverts for junk food, this isn't enough to fix the problem.

What more can we do about it?

Adverts for junk food on TV makes a difference to the foods children prefer and choose to buy (or pester their parents into buying) – often without them even realising it. Junk food adverts are already banned on kids’ TV but not on mainstream family viewing. Restricting these adverts on TV won’t solve the obesity problem but not allowing them to be shown before 9pm can only help.

Cancer Research UK is working with the Government to make sure reducing childhood obesity is a priority. Obesity is complicated and the Government’s childhood obesity strategy must protect kids today and future generations against obesity.

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