A new survey from Obesity Action Scotland indicates strong support among Scottish adults for a 9pm watershed to be applied to TV, online and outdoor adverts for junk food.1

  • 74% of respondents would support a ban on junk food adverts being shown on TV before 9pm.
  • 66% of respondents agree that children seeing adverts for junk food contributes to childhood obesity.

With the UK government currently consulting on advertising restrictions and the Scottish government agreeing to explore action on devolved aspects of advertising, these results send a clear message: Scotland agrees that the current levels of children’s exposure to junk food advertising is unacceptable.

The Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), of which World Cancer Research Fund is a member, states that there is a wealth of strong, peer-reviewed evidence suggesting that the food adverts children see influence the foods they choose and how much of it they eat.2 Junk food marketing in particular is linked with strong preference for junk food, more snacking, greater intake of junk food and lower intake of healthy food overall.

Junk food and cancer

There is strong evidence that regular consumption of ‘fast foods’ and sugar-sweetened drinks increases the risk of weight gain, overweight and obesity, which in turn increases the risk of 12 common cancers.3

References

  1. Obesity Action Scotland. Public support for junk food advertising restrictions. 2019.
  2. Obesity Health Alliance. Six facts about junk food marketing. 2018.
  3. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute of Cancer Research. Be a healthy weight. 2018.