New report: The role of marketing in promoting a fit and healthy childhood

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on A Fit and Healthy Childhood has called upon the Government to ditch its time-honoured ‘voluntary approach’ to food and drink marketing in the interests of children’s health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has highlighted the adverse impact of aggressive HFSS food marketing on children’s eating and drinking habits. Public Health England’s preferred strategy is to ‘nudge’ families into taking healthier choices via initiatives such as the Sugar Smart and Be Food Smart apps, but many corporate companies have continued to target children ruthlessly.  Amongst other measures, the APPG on A Fit and Healthy Childhood urges the Government to:

  • Ban the use of child-friendly characters to advertise junk food
  • Extend existing regulation to restrict HFSS TV advertising until after the 9pm watershed
  • Review and amend regulatory systems currently in place for online content, starting by extending existing policies regulating food marketing to children to online material
  • Require that rogue adverts be reported to the ASA and sponsorships fully declared
  • Introduce tougher restriction on the marketing and advertising of unhealthy food and commit extra resources to ways in which to target ‘hard to reach’ groups with healthy lifestyle initiatives
  • Restore the £600 million cuts to councils’ public health funding and provide additional resources to support children and young people who are most seriously obese
  • Fully adopt the UNICEF-advocated ‘child rights’ approach to marketing and this to underpin relevant legislative strategy

Read the Full Report

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