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Obesity: Children

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 166510, tabled on 20 July 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made on the effect of junk food advertising on childhood obesity.

Answered on

25 July 2018

Evidence shows that children’s exposure to high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) product advertising can affect what children want to eat and what they choose to eat. This can happen both in the short term, increasing the amount of food children eat immediately after being exposed to a HFSS advert and in the longer term by shaping children’s food preferences from a young age.

In the second chapter of our childhood obesity plan, launched in June 2018, we have committed to consult on introducing further advertising restrictions, including a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of HFSS products and similar protection for children viewing adverts online, with the aim of limiting children’s exposure to HFSS advertising, and incentivising sugar and calorie reduction. Further details about the consultation will be available later this year.

Officials in the Department have regular discussions with their counterparts in the devolved administrations on improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people, including on tackling obesity. Discussions include domestic strategies and the delivery of United Kingdom-wide measures in our childhood obesity plan, such as advertising restrictions.

‘Childhood obesity: a plan for action, chapter 2’ is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/childhood-obesity-a-plan-for-action-chapter-2