Channel 4, ITV and Sky in £10m TV drive to encourage healthy eating and exercise for kids

Cross-broadcaster initiative builds on ITV and Veg Power's 'Eat them to defeat them'.

'Eat the to defeat them': ITV and Veg Power's campaign
'Eat the to defeat them': ITV and Veg Power's campaign

ITV, Channel 4 and Sky have joined forces to promote healthy eating and an active lifestyle among children, with £10m earmarked for TV space.

The push will be an extension of ITV and Veg Power's "Eat them to defeat them" campaign by Adam & Eve/DDB that previously ran solely on ITV and aired from January. The three-year partnership kicks off now, with activity from the three TV sales houses starting in 2020.

Its goals are to tackle rising obesity levels among the young, reach 90% of children in the UK and help dissuade them from eating foods and drinks high in fat, sugar or salt and to exercise more.

New work will go live in February, along with other health-promoting campaigns, including the ITV-backed anti-obesity initiative "The daily mile".

Dame Carolyn McCall, ITV's chief executive, said that TV advertising has the "power to shape culture and change behaviour", as evidenced by the two aforementioned campaigns.

She continued: "We’ve been working more widely with Channel 4 and Sky to highlight what TV advertising does to accelerate brands’ growth, and combining the power of our platforms and programmes enables us to make a significant difference to children’s health."

Channel 4 chief executive Alex Mahon added that the broadcaster has "always played an important role in promoting healthy lifestyles to young people" through its programming, pointing out that more action was needed.

"We’re excited to build upon our editorial work with airtime and a powerful TV sales house partnership to continue to inspire and assist young people," she said.

Stephen van Rooyen, Sky's UK and Ireland chief executive, cited the company's history of promoting active and healthy lifestyles, including its "Sky sports scholars" encouraging people to start cycling using Team Sky.

"We will further build on this work by partnering with ITV and Channel 4 in this campaign," he added.

HFSS advertising has been prohibited during children's programmes since 2007, but shows such as The X Factor on ITV and The Great British Bake Off are exempt because less than 25% of their audiences are children.

Earlier this year, McCall dismissed calls for a pre-9pm TV ad ban on HFSS products, citing the government's own impact study that suggested a child's daily calorie intake would fall by just 1.74 kcal with such a ban in place. Mahon has made similar points, arguing that an HFSS ad ban could drive spend to less regulated platforms such as Facebook and YouTube.

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