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UK Bans All 'Junk Food' Advertising Before 9 PM To Combat Obesity

Whenever you're watching TV or scrolling through the internet, it seems like half of the advertisements you end up seeing are promoting some fast food brand, or chips, or candy of some sort. We all know this kind of stuff is unhealthy — and there's no doubt that junk food contributes to obesity.

The UK has decided that this is an issue worth tackling, and according to the BBC, has decided to ban junk food ads before 9 pm.

This is in an effort to combat obesity.

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UK prime minister Boris Johnson has made combating obesity a priority. Banning junk food ads is seemingly the first step in promoting healthier lifestyles for UK citizens.

It's going to be quite strict

Starting at the end of 2022, no advertisement for unhealthy or "less healthy" foods will be shown on daytime television. They will, though, be shown during a nighttime window between 9 pm and 5:30 am local time.

This will affect both live and on-demand programs.

It's not all-encompassing, though.

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The ban doesn't affect companies with less than 250 employees, and won't be applicable to online advertising. The companies that make and market unhealthy food can still advertise through their own websites and blogs, as well as on social media sites.

And certain brands may still advertise.

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It also applies to specific products, and not brands as a whole. So if a company makes unhealthy and healthy food, they can still advertise the healthy stuff.

Certain foods that may be high in sugars and fats but that aren't considered unhealthy, such as honey or avocados, won't be affected either.

Obesity is a problem in the UK.

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Obesity is linked to poverty, and oftentimes begins in childhood. It's estimated that about 60% of UK citizens are overweight or obese. Although this may not tackle the problem at its source, the UK government hopes this will be a step in the right direction.

Johnson's recently changed his tune on obesity.

In previous years, the prime minister was more lax in his views on what other people ate. Since contracting Covid-19 in 2020, however, he's begun to take the issue more seriously, stating that "Losing weight, frankly, is one of the ways you can reduce your own risk from coronavirus."

Advertisers aren't happy about this.

The advertising industry sees this as a huge loss, which will result in many jobs being cut, public affairs director of the Advertising Association, Sue Eustace said. But is this a necessary evil?

The government acknowledges that this isn't enough.

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Shadow health minister Alex Norris stated, "This ban alone will not be enough. We need a radical obesity strategy in this country that goes further, ensuring families are able to access healthy food, supporting local leisure facilities and tackling child poverty." This definitely a start, but more work needs to be done.

h/t: BBC.

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