Junk food ads face social media ban

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The UK government is considering the move, with the Scottish Government also considering restrictions to help boost health

10th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Junk food advertisements could be banned from social media as part of plans to improve health.

The Westminster Government is considering a range of measures in the fight against obesity.

Alongside barring adverts for unhealthy food and drinks on television before 9pm, similar adverts could be blocked from social media sites and on demand video providers.

The Times reported this week that government ministers are finalising an obesity strategy which they aim to publish later this summer. The Scottish Government is also working on a plan which aims to improve the nation’s health, and also lists action on junk food advertising as a priority,

The plans have received the backing of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has campaigned for the need for children to eat more healthily.

“Our kids are being bombarded day in, day out, with junk food adverts,” he said. “From sponsoring the biggest family TV screens, popping up on smartphones and even at bus stops on their way to school, this deliberate targeting of our kids from toddlers to teens is simply wrong.”

Dan Parker, a former advertising executive who runs the health charity Living Loud, said that action must target social media as well as television.

He said: “Facebook, Google, or any of those guys, they have the ability to know so much about you it’s reasonable for them to identify when a computer is being used by a child.”

The Scottish Government has said that the sale of junk food will be restricted as part of its plans – a move that has been welcomed by health experts.

Over £40 million of new investment will be made to deliver almost 100,000 supported weight management interventions for people with, or at risk of, Type 2 diabetes and calls will be made to ban TV advertising of foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar before the 9pm watershed.

A consultation on the plans closed at the end of January, with more than 300 responses being considered.

Cancer Research UK has highlighted that prevention needs to be at the heart of the new strategy, and has backed junk food restrictions.