30 Jun

Ministers confirm TV junk food advertising ban from the end of 2022

Ministers have confirmed that TV junk food advertising will be banned during the daytime from the end of 2022.

Under new rules, TV adverts for foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt will be banned between the hours of 5.30am and 9pm. The move is part of a wider programme to try and bring down obesity rates in the UK. The latest statistics show that over a quarter of UK adults are obese. 

Jo Churchill, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, said that the government was committed to improving the health and wellbeing of children and tackling obesity, which is becoming increasingly prevalent among children and adults. 

Adverts are proven to influence behaviour and buying habits and it is hoped that eliminating promotions for junk food will help to reduce consumption and discourage adults and children from making unhealthy food choices. As well as being a major risk factor for obesity, diets high in sugar are also linked to type 2 diabetes and decay. Tooth decay is currently the leading cause of hospital admissions among children in the UK.

The government had been considering a total ban on junk food advertising, which included online adverts, but instead, new regulations will be introduced to monitor and restrict online advertising. With data suggesting that children spend 20 more minutes per day online than in front of the TV, the Dental Wellness Trust believes that it would be beneficial to implement a total ban. Dr Saul Konviser described tooth decay as one of the “most common non-communicable diseases worldwide” and quoted data from the Local Government Association, which shows that nearly 45,000 procedures were carried out to extract decayed teeth in England in 2018/2019.

The Prime Minister has expressed a desire to step up the fight against obesity and preventable health issues after being admitted to hospital in 2020 with Covid-19. In interviews, he said he was “too fat,” which had made him vulnerable to the virus. Since his illness, he has lost weight by eating a healthier diet and going for regular runs with his dog.