Ban All Foods Ads to Under-12s, Demand UK Medics

05 July 2004

Doctors 'Can't Compete' with Celeb Junk Food Pushers

Delegates at last week's annual representative meeting of the British Medical Association were told the UK food industry spent £300m promoting "unhealthy food" in 1999 [sic], and that 99% of food advertising during children's TV was for fatty and sugary foods.

Paediatrician Keith Brent said that while he could advise young patients as to what foods they should eat, it was likely his advice would go unheeded. "How good do I look next to Gary Lineker [an ex-soccer star who touts PepsiCo's best-selling Walkers brand] telling them to eat crisps," he asked?

Another speaker, Dr Andrew Rowland, spoke of an 11-year-old patient, who weighed 84.8 kilos (187 pounds) and could not walk from waiting room to consulting room without breathlessness.

"Young children are being bombarded with advertisements for food that is damaging their health," accused Rowland. "They may not at this stage have developed the reasoning capabilities to recognise the adverse effects this food is having on their health."

The BMA has already called for a government ban on all TV advertising of junk foods before the so-called 'watershed' -- the time at which young children might reasonably be expected to be abed.

But such a ban was ridiculed by a Dr Norman Vetter, who argued it to be unworkable as children are now up "at all times of the day and night".

Data sourced from: BrandRepublic (UK); additional content by WARC staff