Today’s report from Cancer Research UK highlights how exposure to junk food advertising can make it extremely difficult for children and their families to make healthy food choices. Currently a third of children in their final year of primary school in the UK are overweight or obese, which is a massive tragedy because obese children are more likely to grow into obese adults, at greater risk of serious health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer, liver and cardiovascular disease and of poor mental health. Beyond the human impact, treating obesity and its associated illnesses is extremely costly to our health service. This is why it is essential that we have tough and far-reaching measures in place to make it as easy as possible for the public to lead healthier lives, and to give children the best chance of a healthy future. These should include a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed to reduce exposure to children, ambitious reformulation targets, backed by regulation, to reduce sugar, saturated fat and salt from our food and the full implementation of the soft drinks industry levy. We want the Government to include all of these measures in its Childhood Obesity Strategy, which must be published and implemented as soon as possible. The future health of our children depends on strong action right now.
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