There is no doubt that in recent years, obesity has become a formidable issue within society. The word is persistently cropping up in news headlines, and with recent statistics showing that 40% of London’s children are overweight or obese, it is not hard to understand this statistic.
It seems about time that the government step in to address the problem. One, perhaps obvious response to this is to ban the promotion and advertising of junk food. However, with such a difficult and sensitive issue, it can be difficult to gauge what will really work.
As of February 25th 2019, food and drink brands are only permitted to advertise their healthy products on the Transport for London (TFL) network. This will have a massive impact on an extensive audience, as 30 million journeys a day are made on London’s transport network.
“This ban will prove to be highly effective in lowering the alarming rise of obesity for a number of reasons.”
This ban will prove to be highly effective in lowering the alarming rise of obesity for a number of reasons. Firstly, the removal of temptation that Londoners, particularly young people, face daily will put an end to the endless cycle of, perhaps subconsciously, consuming junk food. For the overall health of the country, this can only be a good thing.
” It also encourages food brands to promote their healthier options instead.”
The ban not only prohibits the advertisement of unhealthy products, it also encourages food brands to promote their healthier options instead. For me, personally, this minor detail is the key to the success of the entire scheme. By promoting healthy foods to the public, the government are positively encouraging people to make healthier choices rather than merely telling people what they shouldn’t be eating.
After all, if 87% of young people who reportedly found adverts for high fat, salt and sugar products appealing, surely at least some of these young people could be tempted by an advert for a nice juicy bowl of fruit or salad?
Furthermore, the effects of the promotion of healthy foods are much more wide reaching than just tackling obesity. Studies have shown that eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals can improve mental health and give young people more energy and confidence, thus increasing their quality of life.
Despite the resounding support for the scheme, with 82% of Londoners agreeing that this ban is long overdue, there is a general notion that the government could still be doing more to combat obesity.
In particular, there is a general consensus that the government should be doing more to tackle the class divides. Currently, a young person from a less privileged background is much more likely to be overweight or obese than a young person from a more privileged background. Many factors are to blame for this, such as the rising cost of food and lack of affordable, healthier alternatives available. Therefore, it seems as though the next logical step in the battle against Britain’s obesity crisis is to tackle these issues.
“The banning of junk food adverts on London’s transport network represents a massive step forward for the health of our society. “
The banning of junk food adverts on London’s transport network represents a massive step forward for the health of our society. Nonetheless, it is clear that we still have a long way to go to really solve the ever growing problem of obesity.
Featured image courtesy of Glynne Hather via Flickr, no changes made to image. Image license can be found here.
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