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