The government have just made a big announcement. They want to reduce the adverts that kids see for unhealthy products—so they’re looking at introducing a 9pm junk food ad watershed both online and on TV, for all screens kids see. This is a once in a generation chance to stop our kids being bombarded by these ads which influence their food choices everyday.
The government have opened a ‘consultation’ (a big survey) to find out what we think. So let’s tell them! You can give them your opinion on junk food advertising by filling in their survey or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Last year thousands of you covered your eyes to say you’ve #AdEnough of junk food advertising to kids. The only way to reduce the number of ads kids see at the moment is by literally covering their eyes… It was amazing, and the momentum we built triggered some massive progress! So let’s actually make this happen.
Here’s the evidence
Advertising works. Why else would companies spend billions on it? 69% of 3-year-olds recognise the McDonald’s ‘golden arches’ – before they can even read and write – because of powerful advertising.
When kids are targeted by junk food ads, on their phones, at the bus stop, on TV, on social media, is it any wonder 1 in 3 children leaves primary school with obesity or overweight?
Meanwhile, obesity brings further health challenges – it is the second biggest cause of cancer, and amputations related to type-2 diabetes are on the up too.
Our junk food environment is shaping kids’ chances of life-long health before they’re even 11!
Current rules protect children when they’re watching ‘kids’ programmes’ like cartoons, but not during blockbuster shows such as The X Factor, which are actually watched by millions of children.
It’s these kinds of loopholes that are the problem – and why we need proper restrictions.
Let’s support parents
Junk food ads undermine any positive work we’re doing in schools or at home to help kids eat well. Restricting junk food ads is a really important way we can help parents.
Adverts influence how much children eat (1), and every parent knows the role these ads play when it comes to ‘pester power’ in the supermarket! (2,3)
And top public health experts agree – they recommend restrictions on advertising as one of the most effective ways to reduce childhood obesity.(4)
A level playing field
Healthy balance is everything – and these junk ads are tipping scales in the wrong direction.
This is about common sense, and putting kids’ health before profits. Whether you’re McDonald’s or Farmdrop, you can advertise loads of healthier products under the Nutrient Profiling Model.
You just can’t advertise the junk food to kids. Simple.
Restricting junk food ads isn’t a one-stop solution to childhood obesity. But when evidence says kids who recall seeing junk food ads are more than twice as likely to have obesity, then it’s pretty much a no-brainer, right?
Have your say
Just as 82% of Londoners showed their support for Sadiq Khan’s ban on junk food advertising across the whole of TfL, the government wants to know your view.
(1) Boyland E, Nolan S, Kelly B (2016). Advertising as a cue to consume: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acute exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on intake in children and adults Am J Clin Nutr
(2) Hastings, G. (2006) The extent, nature and effects of food promotion to children: a review of the evidence. WHO 16.
(3) McDermott L et al. (2006). International food advertising, pester power and its effects. International Journal of Advertising.
(5) Boyland E, Nolan S, Kelly B (2016). Advertising as a cue to consume: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of acute exposure to unhealthy food and nonalcoholic beverage advertising on intake in children and adults Am J Clin Nutr