The UK government will soon implement country-wide restrictions on television ads that promote junk food. Adverts for food high in sugar, fat, and salt will not be permitted on TV between 5:30 am and 9 pm in a bid to fight obesity.
According to an NHS report from 2020, the majority of adults in the UK were overweight or obese – 67 percent of men and 60 percent of women. Further, 20 percent of children in year 6 were classed as obese.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the NHS costs associated with obesity are ‘vast’.
“I think we’re taking the right approach. I think it’s important that we send out a message. I’m afraid that we do have a national struggle with obesity and we need to deal with it,” he said to the BBC.
“We’ve just seen during the COVID-19 pandemic sadly how obesity can be one of the comorbidities in serious illness. Let’s get a grip on it.”
He added that ‘sending out a signal’ via food advertising is ‘entirely right’.
Junk food ads
From the end of 2022, TV ads promoting foods like yoghurt, ready meals, chicken nuggets, and battered fish will not be allowed outside of the designated time frame.
The new policy applies to live and on-demand programmes. It will not apply to companies with less than 250 employees.
The ban will not limit entire companies; they will still be able to promote their products as long as they are healthy. For instance, sugary breakfast cereals cannot be advertised, but healthy ones made by the same company can.