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The fight against sugar continues

A ban on advertisements promoting food and drinks that are high in fat, sugar and salt on social media and gaming channels that are aimed at children in the UK came into force over the weekend.

The ruling by the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP) is the latest step in the fight against rising obesity levels among children in the UK. Commenting on the news, registered nutritionist Jenny Rosborough, campaign manager at Action on Sugar, says, “We welcome the news that there will no longer be any ads promoting food and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt on social media and gaming channels that are aimed at children.

“However, the ruling needs to go further as they currently do not manage exposure to these adverts during popular family programmes such as the X Factor or Britain’s Got Talent and therefore, in the first instance, should be extended to a 9pm watershed.”

She adds, “The ban is just one of the many steps (as outlined in Action on Sugar’s original Childhood Obesity plan presented to the government) required to help prevent millions of UK citizens from becoming obese, developing type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. The Prime Minister must now put the nation’s health first.”

Meanwhile, doctors are now calling for warnings to be featured on sweet packets and other sugary food to reduce tooth decay in children, according to news reports. A motion was discussed at the British Medical Association’s annual conference in Bournemouth last week expressing dismay at the rate of tooth decay. More than 34,000 children aged 9 and under have reportedly had tooth extractions in the last two years, with 18,000 of those in children under 5.

The reports come less than two months after Action on Sugar released its six-point manifesto, in which it called on the UK government to extend the soft drinks levy to confectionery. The sugar group is requesting that the sugar levy is mandatory for all confectionery produced by manufacturers and retailers (set at a minimum levy of 20%), including those products sold in coffee shops and restaurants.

While the fight against sugar appears to have been bubbling away for some time, it may only be the start of a longer journey.

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