Ban TV junk food ads before 9pm watershed, says RCPCH
Junk food advertising on television should be banned before the 9pm watershed in an effort to tackle soaring obesity rates among young people, warns RCPCH President Dr Hilary Cass.
A clampdown on advertising foods high in salt, sugar or fat would help protect children from unwelcome and unhealthy 'commercial exploitation', she argues.
Existing regulations are too weak and need to be overhauled: 'Although they are trying to avoid junk food advertising around specific children's programmes, you've still got it around soaps and other programmes that children watch. So the only realistic way to do it is to have no junk food advertising before the watershed in any programmes at all.'
Why a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed?
Food manufacturers globally spend vast amounts of money annually to advertise foods high in saturated fats, sugar and salt to children and young people. The evidence around the effectiveness of this investment is apparent both in the food manufacturers’ profits, but also in research studies assessing their impact on children’s consumption of unhealthy food.
The RCPCH supports the Sydney principles 'for achieving a substantial level of protection for children against the commercial promotion of foods and beverages'. These offer a robust series of seven principles by which regulation should be assessed. It should:
RCPCH believes that by introducing such measures it would help to create an environment in which children are protected from commercial pressures and that children should grow up in commercial-free environments.
As a minimum, we would recommend the banning of advertising of foods high in fat, sugar or salt before the watershed of 9pm. Similar measures should also be explored for other media, including, where possible, the internet, print and broadcast.
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