New food ad rules aim to curb obesity

In collaboration with the Press Association

The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has announced new rules for food and soft drink advertisements aimed at children, in a bid to halt the rising level of childhood obesity. Research has shown that maintaining a healthy body weight has positive effects on health, reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

The rules, which come into effect on July 1st 2007, state that advertisements should not condone poor nutritional habits or mislead consumers about the health benefits of products. In addition, advertisers will not be able to use irresponsible promotional offers and celebrities will not be permitted in ads aimed at pre-school or primary age children. Produced in response to a white paper by the Department of Health, the rules affect non-broadcast advertising and coincide with the introduction of stricter rules on television content. Andrew Brown, chairman of CAP, commented: "Childhood obesity and the future of children's health are of prime concern to all and these measures represent a strong commitment by advertisers to promote all food and drink products responsibly."