Online junk food ads could be banned before 9pm

Fast food: Junk food companies spend £143 million per year on advertising.

Should junk food adverts be banned? This week, the UK government published plans to stop companies promoting unhealthy food before 9pm. It is part of a mission to prevent childhood obesity.

What’s happening

Crisps. Burgers. French fries. Pizzas. Takeaways. Soon, you may no longer see adverts for these things on TV or online. The UK government wants to ban them from being shown before 9pm.

The government says the idea is part of its plan to tackle the “epidemic” of childhood obesity in Britain.

Find out more

One third of children in England are obese by the time they leave primary school. This could lead to health problems when they grow up, such as Type 2 diabetes.

Some have blamed adverts for promoting unhealthy foods which contain a lot of fat, sugar and salt. “Only 1% of food adverts are for vegetables!” wrote England’s chief medical officer.

“Kids are hugely influenced by junk food ads,” said TV chef Jamie Oliver. “The media and the food industry has a real opportunity here to do something about it.”

Last month, junk food adverts were banned from trains and buses in London. Should they be banned everywhere?

Some say…

Yes. Junk food is bad for you, but it is very tempting when there are adverts telling you how tasty it is. Banning them will help kids and their parents to make better choices. This will mean that kids grow up to have longer, healthier lives.

Others think…

No. Junk food adverts are not the only cause of obesity, and banning them will not make much difference. The government must do more: including making healthy foods cheaper and helping kids to exercise more often.

You Decide

  1. Are you influenced by advertising?

Activities

  1. Design a poster which encourages young people to eat healthy foods.

Some People Say...

“Advertising is legalised lying.”

H.G. Wells

What do you think?

Word Watch

Epidemic
A widespread disease or infection.
Obesity
Being severely overweight.
Type 2 diabetes
A condition in which your blood sugar levels are too high.
Promoting
Encouraging; making something look appealing.
Influenced
Persuaded or affected by.
Industry
An area of business. In this case, companies like restaurants or food factories are all part of the food industry.

Subjects

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