I’ve launched #AdEnough in a bid to protect kids from junk food marketing – an issue that’s long been a focus of Which? campaigns. Here’s how the campaign will help tackle the rise in childhood obesity – and I need your help.
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!
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 nothing in place to protect our kids from seeing these adverts – apart from literally covering their eyes! And that’s where the #AdEnough campaign comes in…
— Which? (@WhichUK) April 16, 2018
The #AdEnough campaign
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 stopping big brands from advertising full stop; 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 does a good job tracking the scale of the problem, but an intelligent policy response is difficult without knowing about the causes (ie, 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 that our kids have had enough.
I really believe we can get this over the line – we’ve already got some amazing support in government, 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!
This is a guest post by Jamie Oliver. All views expressed are Jamie’s own and not necessarily those also shared by Which?.
Do you agree that children need protecting from junk food marketing? How else can we tackle childhood obesity?