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IPA reacts to childhood obesity report

The IPA supports the Advertising Association’s response to the Health Select Committee’s report on childhood obesity, published this week (30 November).


Ian Barber, AA Director of Communications, said:

“The Committee didn’t take evidence from advertising experts and its views reflect a narrow, medical perspective.  The bigger picture is that food advertising in the UK is amongst the most strictly regulated in the world, children see far fewer HFSS ads on TV today than ever before and new rules already being considered would mean no advertising targeted at children in any media. 

Those regulations reflect the evidence as to whether advertising affects children’s preferences and diet, the answer to which is yes, but only a little.  Proportionate regulation matters because without advertising, we stifle choice, competition and innovation and threaten funding for the programmes and content we all enjoy.  A 9pm watershed is an analogue measure for a digital age that would hit programme budgets hard, even on channels with few or no children watching.”

Richard Lindsay, IPA Director of Legal & Public Affairs, said:

The report acknowledges that “childhood obesity is a complex problem which will need action across a number of areas”.  Advertising is just one, small part of this debate. The Committee may well consider that there is a need “for bold, decisive and urgent action”, but action should only be taken in light of the evidence and also its likely effect. Knee-jerk proposals such as pre-9pm ad bans may be bold, but they are highly unlikely to be effective.

Read the full report.

Last updated 01/12/2015

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