Enders Analysis: HFSS TV ad ban should be dropped

Further restrictions on food and drink advertising will have no effect on obesity levels, company suggests.

McDonald's: HFSS brands could be affected by tighter advertising restrictions
McDonald's: HFSS brands could be affected by tighter advertising restrictions

Any policy change regarding food and drink high in fat, salt or sugar should not involve a wider TV advertising ban, but should instead focus on informing and educating parents, Enders Analysis has said.

The UK government is currently consulting on introducing a 9pm watershed on HFSS TV and online ads to combat rising levels of childhood obesity.

In a response, Enders argued that obesity is a complex societal issue requiring a multifaceted approach and that "the evidence from existing rules, and plummeting TV viewing amongst children, says that further restrictions on TV advertising will be ineffective in curbing the rise of obesity in the UK".

Enders is calling on the government to address the root of the problem of childhood obesity and pursue policies to educate parents for their own and their children’s benefit, as has been the case in Leeds and Amsterdam. In Leeds, parental intervention programmes have been successfully introduced to the city's children's centres, while Amsterdam created a city-wide healthy-weight programme.

Moreover, Enders said that "limiting the visibility of HFSS foods on TV will disproportionately damage broadcasters and advertisers’ businesses without any prospect of success in abating obesity".

Scientific evidence is clear about the triggers surrounding obesity, the report argued, highlighting the importance of early-stage, pre-natal and post-natal intervention to tackle obesity effectively.

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