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Ads 'make healthy diet difficult'


The Press Association (UK)
April 17, 2008

More than 80% of people believe junk food advertising is making it difficult to feed children a healthy diet, according to research.

The survey for consumer watchdog Which? found 84% of consumers want the Government to do more to control the marketing of unhealthy food to children.

The survey also revealed 83% think irresponsible advertising is making it harder to encourage children to eat healthy food.

Which? said rules governing junk food advertising on the internet and on packaging were weak or non-existent, while current regulations for television advertising did not apply to the programmes most watched by children.

A Bill to introduce robust restrictions on unhealthy food advertising to children is due for its second reading in Parliament next week.

It aims to introduce a 9pm watershed for junk food advertising and protect children from other forms of marketing.

Which? said initiatives to improve the standard of school meals and provide clear nutrition labelling would be undermined without stricter advertising controls.

Clare Corbett, a food campaigner at Which?, said: "New types of promotions, like online and text messaging, have given food companies a whole new playground to promote unhealthy products to children.

"It's no wonder pester power is a continuing problem and our research shows the real strength of public feeling.

"With childhood obesity and diet-related health problems on the increase, the Government must take serious action and soon. It is a complex problem with no easy solution, but with approaches from every angle, including an end to irresponsible marketing, there's more chance of winning the battle against childhood obesity."


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