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Call for Ban on Junk Food Advertising – is it Right? 21 February 2007

Filed under: Advertising,News — worddocdooley @ 10:57am

The Committee on Advertising Practice, the self-regulatory non-broadcast ad industry body, is discussing how to extend the upcoming junk food ad ban to magazines, billboards, online media and cinema screenings aimed at the under-16s market.

This follows proposals to prevent the manufacturers of foods that are high in salt, sugar or saturated fat advertising on TV during programmes popular with kids.

This seems to be somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction to the increasing problem we as a country face with childhood obesity. Apparently, Britain has the highest climbing rate of childhood obesity in Europe. Current estimates suggest that around one third of those under 16 are now overweight, and 17% are clinically obese.

Then there’s the fact that these soaring levels of obesity have sparked a crisis of ‘adult’ diabetes in children.

Sadly, these real health problems are not confined to children, with the UK having a disproportionately high number of obese adults – I remember reading a figure of more than 51% of all Brits are clinically obese; which is more than scary – and Type 2 diabetes draining the NHS.

I personally don’t think simply banning junk food advertising is the answer, nor the complete picture. In any event, isn’t it up to the parents to help their children have a healthy attitude toward food? It’s not all down to the Gillian McKeiths of the world.

And what about our growing ‘couch potato’ lifestyle?

I agree that we should not be putting children’s future health at risk for the sake of advertising revenues, but come on, there is such a thing as the ability to say no to junk food.

The way I see it, healthier food should be made more accessible for all. At present, it is more often than not cheaper, easier and quicker to grab a spot of junk food. Not that I ever do it, of course. 😉

What do YOU think?

COPYRIGHT © 2007, T Dooley

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4 Responses to “Call for Ban on Junk Food Advertising – is it Right?”

  1. woosteln Says:

    Surely a lot of the ‘couch potato’ lifestyle can be attributed to advertising as well. Not merely junk food. Junk food, and most other products mostly sell on their advertised convenience factor (ie. KFC, the “Mum’s night off Bucket” etc). Meaning generally that it is the service being bought rather than the product(possibly at the expense of the quality of the product, but that’s another dicussion), and continuing to buy these services, leaves you without much to actively do, except sit and work out what to pay someone to bring you, to eat.
    No effort required.

  2. Agreed.

    There are a lot of factors at play. When I lived and worked in London I used that perennial excuse of, “I’m too busy to make my own, healthyish food!” and often sat in front of the TV with a takeaway (veggie curry, so at least I got some of the ‘5 a day’!).

    And I think that’s the crux. So many of us, and an alarmingly increasing number of parents, do not take the time and energy to properly look after ourselves/our kids when it comes to nutrition. Exercise is another one, too.

    That IS partly down to an increasingly busy life, with people working endless hours and eating on the run, or while flopped out on the couch. But I think it is mostly a mindset. And, you’re right: we buy into that notion of ‘convenience food’ – but sadly that comes at a price, which is often ill health.

    I read somewhere that the over the past 40 years or so the cost of fresh fruit and veggies increased substantially MORE than the cost of sweets, snacks and carbonated drinks. So you could argue that it is literally cheaper to eat unhealthy foods.

    Which brings us back full circle…

    Thanks for your post, BTW!

    Ooops, forgot to mention that Gillian McKeith would give me a silver star for my efforts of living a healthier lifestyle. I’ve even got a sprouter, but I admit it is been used as a stand for my yoghurt raisins. 😉

  3. An advertising ban is a good start, but much more needs to be done.

  4. Thanks for your input, James.

    I think a lot of it boils down to education, individual choice (based on a good, basic education of what we eat means now and in the future) and, most importantly perhaps, making sure that affordable, healthier food be made more accessible for all.


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