Majority of Scots would support 9pm watershed on junk food advertising

Written by Jenni Davidson on 6 June 2019 in News

YouGov research for Obesity Action Scotland has found strong support for restrictions on junk food marketing

Obesity epidemic - Image credit: Holyrood

A majority of Scots would support a ban on junk food advertising before 9pm, research by Obesity Action Scotland has found.

The poll, which was carried out by YouGov on behalf of the campaign group, found 74 per cent supported a ban on junk food adverts on TV before 9pm, with 69 per cent supporting a similar ban online and 66 per cent a ban on adverts outside the home before 9pm.

Two-thirds of respondents agreed that children seeing junk food adverts contributed to childhood obesity and that seeing fewer adverts would help children have a healthier diet.

There was also strong support for controls of how junk food is linked to popular characters and events, with 72 per cent in favour of a ban on children’s cartoon characters and sports professionals being used on junk food and drink packaging and 59 per cent in favour of a ban on junk food or drink companies sponsoring sports events.

The UK Government is currently consulting on advertising restrictions around junk food, while the Scottish Government has also committed to exploring action on devolved aspects of advertising.

Obesity Action Scotland wants to see a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts across all media devices and channels to protect children from the harmful effects of marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

This should include live TV, TV on demand, radio, all types of online, social media, apps, in-game, cinema and digital outdoor advertising such as billboards, it says.

Lorraine Tulloch, programme lead of Obesity Action Scotland, said: “We know that junk food adverts influence what children eat and contribute to childhood obesity. 

“The current restrictions on advertising do not go far enough and we want to see the UK Government implement a 9pm watershed across all forms of digital media. 

“Adults across Scotland have indicated their strong support for such action.  

“It’s time for government to step up to protect the health of our children. 

“We urge everyone to take a few minutes to respond to the consultation and advise the government that they want to see action now.”

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