Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers Plan Ban on Food Adverts Aimed at Children; JOWELL TO CLASH WITH INDUSTRY GIANTS IN WAR ON OBESITY

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Ministers Plan Ban on Food Adverts Aimed at Children; JOWELL TO CLASH WITH INDUSTRY GIANTS IN WAR ON OBESITY

Article excerpt

Byline: PATRICK HENNESSY

MINISTERS are to launch a clampdown on companies which target children with advertisements for junk food and drinks.

An outright ban on food advertisements aimed at preschool children could be brought in under new rules being planned by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell.

She is setting up a clash with the food and drink industry by asking the broadcasting regulator Ofcom to draw up a tough new code.

Ms Jowell said today she had become increasingly concerned about the "growing crisis of obesity in children".

Latest figures from the Chief Medical Officer for England showed that 8.5 per cent of six year olds and 15 per cent of 15-year-olds are obese.

Ms Jowell has been reluctant to intervene until now for fear of adding to charges that Labour is creating a "nanny state".

But she claims things are now getting so bad that she has no choice but to call on Ofcom to revise its " inadequate code" on advertising.

She has not ruled out an outright ban on any advertising of food during children's television programmes.

However, a more likely course of action is tough new restrictions on the use of children's TV presenters, cartoon characters and celebrities to "sell" food which is high in sugar or salt to youngsters.

However, the plan has been angrily rejected by the food and drink industry, which claims strict enough rules are already in place.

A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation said: "There is already a strict code in existence which the food and drink industry has an exemplary record of obeying."

Ms Jowell's plan is a key part of a wider government strategy which aims to cut obesity across Britain radically over the next generation.

The Government's Big Conversation consultation document, published last week, raised the issue in the form of a warning of the dangers of "smoking, poor diet and lack of physical exercise among poorer people". …

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