Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Which? Report highlights role of advertising in promotion of unhealthy foods

21 August, 2007

Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Carál Ní Chuilín has welcomed the report from Which? Magazine which highlights the use of cartoon characters in advertising unhealthy foods targeted at children and called for a new approach to guidelines for advertisers and food manufacturers.

Mr Ní Chuilín said:

"No one should underestimate the seriousness of childhood obesity. We need a strategic response that includes healthy eating education our schools and crucially a new approach to advertising.

"It is time for action to protect children from irresponsible food marketing tricks.

"Advertisers should not be allowed to consider children as fair game for intensive advertising campaigns, including advertising of unhealthy food. Young children are particularly vulnerable to the pressures of mass marketing and product tie-ins with many of the most popular children's programmes and films. Advertising that targets children should be limited in the same manner as has occurred with the advertising of alcohol and tobacco products.

"Sinn Féin believes there is a need for an all-Ireland Taskforce to implement an effective and comprehensive strategy to deal with the increasing prevalence of obesity in children and young people. We need a wider response to healthy eating and the growing problem of childhood obesity based on a coordinated cross-departmental approach, including:

  • Healthier Schools
  • Support for Parents
  • Increased Research
  • Increased Regulation of the Food and Drinks Manufacturing Industries and Advertising

"Sinn Féin would also like to see the Food Safety Promotion Board equipped with the ability to influence and bring about speedy and effective regulatory and legislative change in relation to packaging and labelling of foods and drinks, particularly those aimed specifically at children and young people." ENDS

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