Leading TV chef, restaurateur and health campaigner Jamie Oliver outlines his campaign to protect kids from junk food marketing – and explains why he believes it really matters.
What is junk food marketing?
Kids are bombarded, day in, day out, with adverts for food and drink products that are high in unhealthy fats, sugar and salt. They’re online, on TV, on bus tickets, in computer games, all over the streets – they’re everywhere!
Why does it matter?
If kids are constantly targeted with cheap, easily accessible, unhealthy junk food, just think how hard it must be to make better, healthier choices. We have to make it easier for children to make healthier decisions.
These junk food ads undermine any positive work we’re doing in schools or at home to tackle the rise of childhood obesity. Currently, there’s not enough in place to protect our kids from seeing these adverts. And that’s where our #AdEnough campaign comes in...
It’s time we put child health first. I’m calling for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV, and for proper controls on what adverts kids see online, in the street and on public transport.
Crucially, this campaign isn’t about a complete ban on advertising by big brands; it’s about making sure kids aren’t being targeted with unhealthy products. It’s about controlling the time and place.
Just like tobacco, we must limit children’s exposure to the marketing of foods high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar.
We also need a cultural shift, whereby kids’ heroes (human, superhuman or animated) don’t endorse junk food; and the advertising, entertainment, TV and film industries take responsibility for the subliminal messages they promote and the products they endorse.
We need to crack down on junk food marketing and discounts. We can’t allow promotions, such as ‘buy one get one free’, that encourage us to buy more food that’s high in unhealthy fats, salt and sugar. Local authorities also need the power to remove junk ads from billboards, bus stops, stadiums, or from outside their schools.
Measuring our success
What gets measured gets done. We need to find new, progressive metrics that track the cause of our eating and food habits across the board. The Department of Health tracks the scale of the problem, but an intelligent policy response is difficult without knowing about the causes (such as our children’s exposure to junk food advertising, the proliferation of fast food restaurants, or household food insecurity).
Can you help?
We urgently need the government to act. And it’s really easy for you to help. Show your support by posting an image of yourself hiding your eyes on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #AdEnough.
It should only take two minutes of your time, and this simple, repeated image will be a powerful signal to the government.
We can do this!
I really believe we can get this over the line – we’ve already got some amazing support from politicians, and from big names in the sport, health and food worlds. This could be a really key moment in our fight against childhood obesity.
We have to take proper, meaningful steps to protect kids from the future they currently face. And we have to act now.
Post your #AdEnough picture, and let’s make this happen!
- Find out more about our Cancer Prevention Recommendation on high-calorie foods and drinks