Monday, November 20, 2006

Crackdown against junk food adverts

In the United Kingdom, health campaigners claim that new rules to be published restricting the advertising of junk food to children on television will be too weak to halt the soaring levels of obesity.

Ofcom, the media regulator, conducted research that showed consumers oppose such a move.

Representatives from the food and drinks sectors and the advertising industry yesterday welcomed Ofcom's research as a "counter-balance" to the arguments of ban supporters such as the National Heart Forum.

The governments food watchdog, The Food Standandars Agency (FSA) wants a ban on TV commercials advertising junk food before 9pm. They say the proposals drawn up by Ofcom to reduce the effect of junk food ads on children do not go far enough.

Campaigners for the ban argue that around 80%-90% of television advertising is junk food advertising - food that is high in fat, sugar and salt.

If businesses wish to be good corporate citizens, which is one of the mantra of their social responsibilty, they should voluntarily restrict showing such junk food ads targeting children. Also food vendors should be pressured to reduce the unhealthy fat, sugar and salt in their foods.

Almost 14 per cent of Britain's children were obese in 2003, compared to 9.6 per cent in 1995, and doctors have warned half of the countries kids could be obese by 2020.

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