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Time to tighten up junk food advertising to kids - Lynn Boylan MEP

11 November, 2016 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan who has been appointed as a key negotiator on the revision of key legislation governing audiovisual services said:

"The review of the audiovisual services legislation will give us the opportunity to tighten up the provisions on advertising and other forms of marketing. As one of the appointed MEPs to be working on this file, I will be working to ensure that the health of our children is put front and centre in any negotiations. 

"In Ireland we are already facing into an unprecedented obesity epidemic, the consequences of which will be enormous and not just for our health - the costs to an already crippled healthcare service are also already devastating and are set to increase rapidly. 

"The World Health Organisation has warned that Ireland could have the dubious honour of becoming the fat man of Europe in 2030 which will cost our country a staggering €5.3 billion euros a year.

"That’s the bad news. The good news is that obesity is entirely preventable if the political will is there. One key element to tackling this health crisis is to ensure that young children are not exposed to the pervasive and persuasive influence advertising of unhealthy foods. 

"Today’s children are not just exposed to advertising of fatty or sugary foods via traditional media outlets such as television. Video sharing platforms, social media ads and even advertising games all offer the food and drink industry a platform to push some very unhealthy products on to impressionable children. 

"With one in four children in Ireland already obese, it is essential that the pressure is kept up on governments to keep up with the new ways junk food is targeting our kids. I will be working to tighten up this legislation and ensure that this insidious marketing of unhealthy food to kids is banned."

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