The Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) has called for a TV and online ‘watershed’ of fast-food advertising before the current 9pm guideline, to help curb the issue of child obesity.
This would cover regular television programs that many children engage with during family-time and would not be restricted to kids TV channels.
According to the RCPCH, there is a ‘major loop-hole’ where children are exposed to this marketing between 6 and 9pm on your every-day channels, when programmes such as TV soaps are broadcast.
It comes at the time when Public Health England (PHE) have released statistics to show this year is the second consecutive year of growth in child obesity. The number of UK obese children has risen from 9.3% in 2015-2016 to 9.6% in 2016-2017.
A member of the RCPCH, who requested anonymity, told Truthfal: “It’s very complex but a major part of it is advertising.”
“Children are exposed to these things and need protecting. We’ve done it with smoking and we see obesity in a similar way.”
Statistics from the Obesity Health Alliance (OBH) have shown the confectionary sector spend 27 times the amount of money on advertising than the Government invest in their Healthy Eating Campaign.
Fast food chain McDonald’s spent more money on advertising in 2016 than any other food and drink brand.
The interviewee said the creative advertising teams of the fast food industry need to take some responsibility for their influencing of children’s eating habits.
“Why would people spend so much money on this marketing if it made no difference?”
She claimed that children as young as eighteen months are ‘aware of brands’.
This suggested that a collaborative approach among child services, parents and the Government is needed to tackle this issue which is putting strain on the National Healthcare Service (NHS).
She emphasised how the conversation needs to move away from blaming the Institution and considering the role of new technology in influencing children’s eating habits.