Fight to ban junk food reignites

The British Heart Foundation has joined the battle to ban junk food TV adverts before 9pm everyday, as a new survey shows parents are being pressured into buying unhealthy food by their children.

Despite a recent survey from the Child Measurement Programme showing that one third of UK children are now classed as overweight or obese, the likelihood of advert restriction seems low considering the UK already has one of the tightest ad regulation systems in the world.

Ian Twinn, Director of Public Affairs at ISBA (The Voice of British Advertisers), said in a statement:  “There is room for concern about childhood and adult obesity and levels of people being overweight. Sadly, the debate then breaks down for two simple reasons. First, campaigners seem convinced that foods can be called ‘junk’, very few foods are. Secondly, the prescribed solutions, usually ad bans or exiling ads to late night, are placebos, which if taken seriously will not make people thin but have nasty side effects.”

A young mother, who wishes to remain anonymous, said she worries about the adverts her daughter will be exposed to: “These adverts are present everywhere, so there is only so much that one can do as a parent. Obviously I plan to screen the content that she is exposed to, but who knows what the advertisements will be like when Taylor is old enough to make her own decisions. It would be great if there were more campaigns like the Change 4 Life’s Sugar Swaps.”

Leading nutritionist Jo Travers said: “I think that all aspects of society have a responsibility for the nation’s health – including parents, government and industry – and we ought to look at where the priorities lie: the health of the nation or a small number of corporate giants making more money. Our food habits have their basis in childhood and getting into bad habits early on can mean they are harder to break later in life.”

Campaigners for this watershed campaign include Which? and Food Active, who have all taken to social media to urge the public:

 Image Flickr: Moyan Brenn