Obesity in the UK is rising – and more children than ever before are now obese. It’s all very worrying.
There are a deluge of programmes on TV about being overweight and obese from A Year to Save My Life to The Biggest Loser all highlighting the very real issues surrounding obesity (heart disease, liver disease, cancer, diabetes and much more!). And yet, whilst Government bodies, healthcare professionals, fitness gurus and support web sites like talkhealth are collaborating to provide people with information and support in the fight against obesity, it would seem that the advertising world keeps churning out media campaigns that are keeping people hooked on junk food. From finger licking good to I’m loving it our kids, as well as many adults, are being drawn into the junk food life-style!
Despite tighter advertising regulations, children are still being exposed to the same level of junk food advertising, according to new research undertaken at Newcastle University, as they were before the regulations were changed. In the UK regulations ban advertising of foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar during times when children’s programmes are being shown.
However, researchers have recorded a rise in adverts about junk food seen by children since the ban. Before the ban 6.1% of adverts were about junk food, and after the ban this rose to 7%. Clearly, the ban is not working!! The problem is that children don’t just watch programmes during children’s TV-time; they are exposed to other types of TV at other times of the day on other channels where the ban does not necessarily apply.
So, is there a loophole in the advertising regulations?
The British Heart Foundation seem to think so. BHF policy manager Mubeen Bhutta said: “To protect children all junk food adverts should be screened after the 9pm watershed and we want to see consistent advertising regulations across all forms of media, including online, to protect our children. It’s time for the government to put the health of our children above the health of the advertising industry.”
If we don’t educate our children about the dangers of being over weight and obese, and eating a healthy diet and instead merely subject them to subliminal messages in junk food adverts on TV, online and across other forms of media, aren’t we just storing up more problems for the future?