28 September 2003

TV ads blamed for rise in child obesity

The [British] government's food standards watchdog yesterday published the first hard evidence blaming television advertising for the excessive consumption of junk food that is causing an increase of obesity among young people.

The Food Standards Agency said it commissioned the big research programme to look into the possibility of a link between the promotion of foods and children's eating behaviour.

In spite of protestations of innocence by the food manufacturers and advertisers, it established beyond reasonable doubt that advertising influences what children eat as well as the brands they prefer.

The agency said it may consider recommending health warnings on packets of soft drinks and snacks, or restrictions on the advertising of these products as well as of fast-food chains such as McDonald's.

There must be some reason that Big Food spends so much on advertising. A subsidy to advertisers perhaps?

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