Blog: Olly WehringObese? Don't blame your television

Olly Wehring | 22 February 2007

The drinks and food industries should not want for any more proof that they will be targeted by legislators on an increasing scale in the UK as the authorities seek solutions to unhealthy consumption habits.

Ofcom, the UK’s broadcasting regulator, is standing by its proposal to ban junk food ads during TV shows watched by under-16s, following the end of a consultation period of its plans.

Health campaigners had wanted a ban on junk food ads up to the 9pm watershed, but we have at least been spared those draconian measures. However, one has to wonder whether we are fooling ourselves if we think that extending the ban on advertising to teenagers will have any impact on child obesity levels. I hope I remember correctly when I believe that, by 15, I was old enough to make informed decisions on my soft drinks choices without the aid of a nanny state.

I am all for tackling the problem of obesity and there is no doubt that the role of advertising needs to be scrutinised. However, what concerns me is that advertising, whether it be of colas or Cuba Libres is being used in the UK as an easy scapegoat for the complex issues of obesity and alcohol harm.

Ofcom itself has noted TV advertising has a modest, direct effect on children’s food choices and is only one among many influences. This ban on advertising does nothing to address the root social causes of our increasingly unhealthy population.


BLOG

The brutal truth behind India's temperance movement

Some people in India believe alcohol should be more difficult to purchase. Last month, the state of Bihar halted all alcohol sales as its chief minister made good on an election promise. ...

BLOG

How to test Heineken's sense of humour

Greetings from Zurich. Here as a guest of Heineken's Amstel brand, I'm due to sit down later today with the group's senior global director for international brands, Walter Drenth....

BLOG

Which spirits category is the next big thing?

Drinks companies spend a lot of money on trying to predict trends. At last night's Worshipful Company of Distillers City debate, any strategists in the audience got a bit of forecasting for free....

BLOG

Aperol Spritz - Just the one. A large one?

I'll admit to being partial to an Aperol Spritz now and again, more usually in the summer months, sitting outside, shades on, slowly turning more golden/rusty....

just-drinks homepage



Forgot your password?