Junk food ads aimed at kids to be banned

  1. Friday November 17, 03:02 PM

    [​IMG][SIZE=-2]Click to enlarge photo[/SIZE] LONDON (Reuters) - The government moved to ban ads for junk food during children's television programming, taking one of the toughest stances in Europe in the fight against increasing childhood obesity. Ofcom put forward rules on Friday that would ban the airing of adverts for food and drinks high in salt, sugar or fat in connection with programmes that appeal to children under the age of 16 at
    [FONT=Verdana,arial,sans-serif]([/FONT]any time of day or night on any channel.
    Advertising around children's TV programmes is completely banned in Sweden, and there are a range of restrictions within other European countries, but Britain's new proposals are among the toughest.
    The decision left both advertising and health groups angry.
    Ofcom said it had a responsibility to reduce the exposure of children to the advertising of such foods, balanced against the need to secure television programmes of high quality.

    Consumer and health groups had been lobbying for a full ban on junk food TV ads before 9 p.m.
    "Based on the evidence and analysis, we believe the case for intervention is clear," Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said in a statement. "We will introduce significant but proportionate measures to protect children under 16."

    According to the Health Survey for England, 16 percent of boys and 10 percent of girls aged between 2 and 10 are obese.
    Ofcom launched a consultation in March this year after being approached by Tessa Jowell, the minister for culture, media and sport.
    "This is but one element of a renewed drive and responsibility ... to halt the rise in obesity among children," Jowell said in a statement.

    But Sustain, an alliance for better food and farming which had campaigned for tougher ruling, said Ofcom had caved in to the food and advertising lobby.
    Children will still be exposed to junk food ads when they watch adult programming in the early evening, campaign coordinator Richard Watts said in a statement.

    "We know that over two thirds (71 percent) of the TV the average child watches is outside these hours (dedicated to children's programming), so these restrictions will have almost no effect."
    The British Medical Association also said Ofcom should have gone further.
    In contrast, ISBA, which represents over 400 UK advertisers, said Ofcom's decision went too far.

    "These proposals are harmful to UK television, damaging to the competitiveness of UK plc and will not reduce obesity," ISBA's Ian Twinn said in a statement.
    "We fear that the Ofcom board members have been influenced by political opinion ... not the evidence."
    A spokesman for Channel 4, which is funded by advertising, said Ofcom's proposal was a proportionate one but that any measure that put further pressure on TV ad revenues would trouble the company.
    Ofcom estimates that the impact on total broadcast revenues will be up to 39 million pounds per year, falling to around 23 million pounds as broadcasters mitigate revenue loss over time.

    The restrictions will apply to all broadcasters licensed by Ofcom and based in the UK, including international broadcasters transmitting from the UK to audiences overseas.

    The changes will take effect before the end of January 2007, but ad campaigns already underway will be allowed to be broadcast until the end of June of that year. Ofcom said the decision to extend the rules to under 16-year-olds would still require a further short consultation.
  2. Kids are eating way too much junk food. And I get that the advertisers and the food companies need to make money, but at the expense of kids' health?

    Canada wants to ban trans fats in foods, which is good. Trans fats are nothing but poison.

    At the same time, if parents taught their children more about healthy foods and nutrition then those ads wouldn't affect them as much.
  3. that's awesome, but I think some time needs to be spent teaching parents to feed healthy food to their children... after all, most kids don't do the grocery shopping, it takes a parent to buy that big bag of cheetos instead of carrot sticks!
  4. that's good. but as you girls said it all comes down to the parents.
    I'm working hard on teaching my daughter that she has to love healthy food..cause as all kids she loves junk food. she's starting to get the idea now :smile:

    I just don't allow junk food unless she's had enough healthy food she'll be rewarded with a small peice of chocolate and there are some days where she can have whatever Junk food she likes but with limits. ;)
  5. I am 28 now, and when I was growing up there were ads for junk food on television. I especially remember the twinkie kid! I remember there was also THE (as in ONE) fat kid in each grade. One. It's not the ads. We didn't sit around and watch tv, play on the computer, and play video games all afternoon and evening. We went outside and played with the other kids. My parents didn't regularly buy junkfood or soft drinks. Chances are, the parents don't need to be eating that stuff either! Of course, most of the fat kids I see also have fat parents. It has really permeated the culture at this point. Very sad. I really doubt that banning the ads will help. Maybe the ads make children ask for the junkfood, but that doesn't mean the parents have to buy it!
  6. ^^^ same here
    back in my country we saw soft drinks after 1990 for the first time, McDonald's after '95 and just ONE Burger King restaurant in the late '90s . same happend with frozen and junk food, they came up just a few years ago.
    we too used to play outside all day long , because TV was just 2 hours /day with news in the afternoon and we had Cartoons for like 10 mins on saturday only.
  7. Growing up, I only saw ads for the sugared cereal during the Saturday morning cartoons.

    Then I moved to Kwajalein, and the only commercials I saw after that were the ones advertising AFRTS - that's armed forces radio and television and the occasional warnings about the dangers of fraud, waste and abuse.

    My parents taught my brother and me about nutrition. It's not like we NEVER had candy, but growing up we always had to drink milk at dinner. We could have soda, but we had to drink milk first.

    We weren't strangers to junk food, but we didn't eat it all the time.
  8. This is one of those really annoying sort of questions.

    Clearly, at least clearly to me, to target advertisements to small children for foods that are harmful to them slides down beyond unethical to the slimy land of sleaze and repulsion.

    However, I don't think it is likely to be legislatively prohibited in the US because of the same First Amendment that gives us all the right to say what we wish, about handbags, junk food, Britney's new wig, or anything else.

    The companies have the right to make their ads, and the TV stations have the right to accept or refuse them, and the public has the right to purchase the products or not, complain to the TV stations or not.

    So it's another one of those very unpleasant situations where you sit and watch a society make choices, and of course choices have consequences.

    It's not alone in that category, and in some ways, it makes even those of us who have no children have a deep solidarity and understanding of parents of young people, obliged to sit and watch them make their mistakes, watch that train go right off those rails and wreck...
  9. High five, Jamie Oliver!