Dental Tribune International

Organisation bans junk food advertisements aimed at children

LONDON, UK: The Committee of Advertising Practice is clamping down on junk food advertising aimed at UK children. As of 1 July, the promotion of high fat, high salt or high sugar food or drinks in traditional media, online media and other sites where children make up over 25 per cent of the audience will be banned. However, the Oral Health Foundation (OHF) was quick to stress that the progress made cannot stop here and more needs to be done to protect the well-being of children across the country.

Dr Nigel Carter, OBE and CEO of the OHF, said: “Seeing these changes being strictly adhered to has the potential to provide a massive boost to the state of oral health in the UK, with children less likely to ask for products high in sugar, which are damaging to their oral health. In the last two years alone, more than 34,000 rotten teeth have been removed from young children under general anaesthetic in the UK; this is absolutely scandalous, particularly given that this is entirely avoidable”.

To help support the introduction of the new rules, food and farming charity Sustain launched Operation Eagle Eye through its Children’s Food Campaign. The campaign is encouraging people to submit complaints, where appropriate, if they feel food and soft drink companies are not complying with regulations in the way they promote their products.

Carter said that the new advertising restrictions should provide a great deal of support for parents across the country who are trying their best to get their children into positive oral health routines. He added that, “Young children in the UK have more access to the internet than ever before, with one in three British 15-year-olds classed as ‘extreme internet users’ who spend at least six hours a day online. They are therefore subject to vast amounts of advertising and glorification of products that may not have their best interests at heart”.

The OHF will continue to campaign with the hope of seeing similar changes brought to other platforms, such as TV, which will not be affected by the new regulations for the time being. The OHF further hopes that the new regulations will help reinforce the importance of children cutting down on their consumption of food and drinks that are high in sugar.

 

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