Dropping the plan to ban junk food ads in prime time was a bad move – the UK will regret it
The government’s Childhood Obesity Plan has been met with widespread anger from numerous health organisations. This was not least because it delivered “absolutely nothing” to regulate food advertising, something Jamie Oliver had called for.
A recent consultation recommended an extension of industry regulation in some areas of marketing activity to children, but TV advertising lay outside its remit. Should the government have taken the opportunity to address TV advertising by more direct intervention?
Of the many commercial communications children are exposed to, pre-9pm family TV programming (think Britain’s Got Talent or The X Factor) provides an easier target for legislation. Marketing communications, for better or worse, influence what we eat. Their effects depend, however, on whether their message really gets through to consumers in a media saturated society.