[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 July, 2003, 05:35 GMT 06:35 UK
Junk food ads 'should be banned'
Boy eating a burger, spaghetti hoops and fried potatoes
Children are being targeted by ads for foods high in fat, sugar and salt
Adverts which promote junk food for children should be banned, says a leading charity.

The Food Commission said billions of dollars a year were spent globally on marketing foods high in sugar, salt and fat.

The adverts, mainly on television and sometimes targeted at children as young as two, were eclipsing any messages given to children about healthy eating, it said.

Kath Dalmeny from the commission told BBC News: "Unfortunately the kinds of foods that attract the biggest advertising budgets are the fattiest, and sugariest, and saltiest.

"Those are just the things that children should be eating less of, not more of...

"These are the ones that are advertised on children's television, to children, saying these are great exciting, fun things that will improve your performance."

She said parents could not necessarily be blamed because they had no way of telling from the adverts that some cereals, for instance, were 40 or 50% sugar.

Junk food and sugary drinks are supported by enormous advertising budgets that dwarf any attempt to educate children about healthy diets
Food Commission
The commission urged the World Health Organisation to consider banning adverts for "energy-dense, low-nutrient" food aimed at children.

It said the marketing of such food and drink in schools should be outlawed.

All TV adverts for food should be pre-vetted, it said.

There should be publicly-funded incentives for food companies to improve the nutritional content of their products.

The commission also expressed alarm at the way advertising was being aimed at children with techniques such as websites and link-ups with films.

Food industry fights back

But the food industry said its adverts were responsible.

The Food and Drink Federation, a trade body representing manufacturers in the UK, said: "UK food and drink manufacturers take a very responsible view of their relationships with children.

"There are already strict codes of practice governing advertising.

"These state that ads should not encourage children to eat or drink frequently throughout the day, condone excessive consumption, or suggest that confectionery or snacks should replace balanced meals."

The WHO estimates more than a billion adults worldwide are overweight and at least 300 million of these are clinically obese.

It is currently working on a strategy for improving diets through healthy eating and physical activity.

The BBC's Dharshini David
"The lure of fatty and sugary foods prove irresistible"

Junk food ban 'calms pupils'
05 Nov 02  |  Education
Children eat themselves ill
30 May 02  |  UK News
Junk food battle hits US schools
30 May 02  |  Americas


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific