As a former sports minister, I know the Government is committed to improving the health of our children and tackling obesity. The content youngsters see can have a tremendous impact on the choices they make and habits they form. With children spending more time online, it is vital we act to protect them from unhealthy advertising.
I am pleased the Government has set the ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and help adults reach a healthier weight. This ambition was set in recognition that obesity is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, at least 12 types of cancer, liver, and respiratory disease.
Through the Health and Care Act 2022 and following a public consultation, the Government will introduce regulations for a 9pm TV watershed for advertising products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) which will come into force at the end of next year. The new rules apply to TV and UK on-demand programmes, as well as restrictions on paid-for advertising of HFSS foods online, as part of this ongoing commitment to tackle unhealthy eating habits at source.
This will be implemented in October 2025 to allow businesses time to prepare for the restrictions and reformulate products.
Action has already been taken on out of home calorie labelling for food sold in large businesses including restaurants, cafes and takeaways which came into force in April 2022. In October 2022, we also introduced restrictions on the promotion of products high in fat, salt or sugar by location.
While I strongly believe in personal choice and the freedom to choose, I also believe these measures form a key part of our strategy to get the nation fitter and healthier by giving them the chance to make more informed decisions when it comes to food.
More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-advertising- rules-to-help- tackle-childhood-obesity