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Government announces ban on junk-food TV adverts before 9pm

Government announces ban on junk-food TV adverts before 9pm

The UK Government is to ban the broadcast of TV adverts for a range of foods high in sugar, salt and fat before 9pm, from the end of next year.

The move comes as part of a wider anti-obesity drive by the Government, with tackling obesity made a priority for the government by Boris Johnson last year.

As part of new rules, TV adverts for a range of junk food products will be only be allowed between the hours of 9pm and 5.30am. Among the products thought to be included in the rules are chocolate, sweets, ice cream, biscuits, soft drinks and chips - as well as a range of other junk foods and 'less healthy' meals that have been linked with childhood obesity.

The new measures will affect both live and on-demand programming, while new rules will also be implemented for online junk food adverts.

In a written statement to the House of Commons on Thursday, Jo Churchill, Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care said;

"Covid-19 has brought the dangers of obesity into sharp focus and highlighted that as a country we need to address the risks obesity presents. The Prime Minister has been clear that helping the nation get fitter and healthier must be a national priority and will make us more resilient to diseases in the future."

In 2018, around 63% of UK adults were estimated to be overweight or obese. Obesity is known to raise the risk of a number of diseases and medical conditions, including COVID-19.

The ban on daytime junk food adverts was suggested last July when the Government announced a new strategy for tackling obesity. Among other measures put forward then included increased calorie labelling and the expansion of NHS weight management services.

The plans have been welcomed by a number of health charities, including the British Heart Foundation, though some have criticised the plans. 

Alex Norris MP, Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister responded to the plans saying, "This ban alone will not be enough. We need a radical obesity strategy in this country that goes further, ensuring families are able to access healthy food, supporting local leisure facilities and tackling child poverty."

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