The UK Government has launched a public consultation inviting the public to give their views on ways to reduce the number of adverts that children are exposed to that promote foods high in fat, sugar and salt.
The consultation sets out proposals to tighten advertising restrictions that will limit children’s exposure across media such as TV, online streaming and social media, in an effort to tackle childhood obesity. The restrictions have also been designed with a view to encourage industry to develop healthier alternatives.
In 2017, it was estimated that children were exposed to more than 3.6 billion TV and 700 million online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar or salt. Evidence suggests that advertising can affect what and when children eat after seeing an advert and shape children’s food preferences from a young age. This has the potential to affect their likelihood to become or remain overweight as adults.
The proposals will target foods that contribute most to children’s intake of calories and not apply to everyday staples like butter, oil or meat.
Currently, one in three children is overweight or obese and the number of severely obese children is on the rise. The proposals are part of a series of measures that will support the NHS Long Term Plan and help to halve childhood obesity by 2030.
Source: UK Government, 18 March 2019