Advertising junk food ban a top priority – by Sally Fenn

England’s first Food Environment Policy Index (EPI) has identified as its top priority the need to reduce exposure of children to advertising of junk food.  

Published in November, the EPI calls for a ban on TV advertising of unhealthy food up to the 9pm watershed, all forms of non-broadcast advertising of unhealthy food and an end to fast food sponsorship of sports events watched by children

In 2015 less than two per cent of food advertising revenue was spent on fruit and vegetables compared to 20 per cent on confectionery and snacks.

The Food EPI is a tool for evaluating how well England is doing in the development of healthy food policies in comparison to other countries: it also identifies priorities for action. Seventy-three experts from 41 organisations participated in comparing England’s track record on supporting diet-related health with the best practice in other countries.

While the UK has some good diet-related policies, such as the inclusion of ingredient lists and nutrient declarations on packaged foods, and the adoption of food standards in schools, there are also some serious policy gaps.

The current government focus on driving food exports regardless of public health and the fact that subsidies for UK farmers are not determined by the healthiness of the food they produce resulted in low ratings for the UK.The UK has the second highest rate of obesity in Europe. One in four adults is now obese and half the adult population is predicted to be obese by 2050.

The full report is here: