While we welcome a renewed government focus on reducing obesity, failing to include a policy that stops junk food adverts being shown on TV and online before the 9pm watershed, would be a serious error. Adverts for unhealthy food dominate prime-time TV and social media channels, with the food industry spending millions every year to keep their products centre stage in our minds. To help the nation be healthier, the government needs to simultaneously curb all the drivers that influence poor diet.
Restricting when junk food adverts can be shown is popular with the public, with a 9pm watershed supported by 74% of people. A plan that excludes advert restrictions brings into question whether the government is serious about reducing obesity and dental decay. As health professionals, charities and campaigners, we would find it hard to support a government obesity plan that does not address junk food marketing.”
Professor John Wass, Obesity Health Alliance; Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK; Professor Rachel Batterham, Royal College of Physicians; Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, British Medical Association; John Maingay, British Heart Foundation; Chris Askew, Diabetes UK; Professor Simon Capewell, Faculty of Public Health; Dr Max Davie, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health; Kieron Boyle, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity; Dame Donna Kinnair, Royal College of Nursing; Ben Reynolds, Deputy Chief Executive, Sustain; Pamela Healey, British Liver Trust; Professor David Kerrigan, British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society; Christina Marriott, Royal Society of Public Health; Dr Maria Bryant, Association for the Study of Obesity; Matthew Philpott, Health Equalities Group; Professor Graham MacGregor, Action on Sugar; Michael Baber, Health Action Campaign; Andy Burman, British Dietetic Association; Anna Dixon, Centre for Ageing Better; Sarah LeBroq, Obesity UK; Kim Roberts, HENRY; Barbara Crowther, Children’s Food Campaign; Phillip Newsome, British Society of Gastroenterology; Mick Armstrong, British Dental Association; Cathy Lewis, Caroline Walker Trust; Jude Obden, Obesity Action UK; Fiona Donald, Royal College of Anaesthetists; Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, Institute of Health Visiting.