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For right now. For the future. End junk food advertising to kids
After years of campaigning, in May 2021 the UK Government announced tough new restrictions for junk food adverts on TV and online. Through the new Health and Care Bill, Health Secretary Sajid Javid pledged to introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts to kids on TV, as well as a total online ban. It means that:
- New regulations will apply to food and drink products of most concern to childhood obesity.
- Foods such as honey, olive oil, avocados and marmite are excluded from the restrictions.
- Restrictions will apply to businesses with 250 or more employees, meaning small and medium businesses will be able to continue advertising.
Ads work – that’s why companies spend so much money on them. Millions of pounds are spent on TV and online advertising every year influencing us to eat foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS). Studies have shown that junk food ads appear up to 9 times every hour at children’s peak viewing times. Being able to remember seeing one junk food ad on TV a day could lead to consuming an extra 18,000 calories in a year - or almost 350 calories a week.
Children who are obese are 5 times more likely to struggle with their weight as adults, increasing their risk of 13 different types of cancer. And the more junk food ads young people see, the more they eat – for some, that could be over 500 extra snacks throughout the year.
Don’t let them bin the ban
Industry won’t stop its fight to bin the ban. But the UK Government's own impact assessment estimates that TV and online restrictions could remove up to 7.2 billion calories from children’s diets per year in the UK which, over the coming years, could reduce the number of obese children by more than 20,000.