News Children's Food Campaign

Health experts and parents agree: a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising

As part of the Obesity Health Alliance, Sustain and the Children's Food Campaign are amongst 44 professional organisations backing a comprehensive 9pm watershed for advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar, as new research shows massive public backing for the idea.

Copyright: Obesity Health Alliance

Copyright: Obesity Health Alliance

Members of the Obesity Health Alliance, including the Children's Food Campaign, want to see a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts implemented across all media devices and channels to protect children from the harmful effects of marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt.

This 9pm watershed should include live TV, TV on demand, radio, all types of online, social media, apps, in-game, cinema and digital outdoor advertising such as billboards.

Barbara Crowther, Co-ordinator of the Children's Food Campaign says:

"With rising levels of overweight and obesity and Type 2 Diabetes amongst children and young people, plus increased rates of multiple tooth extractions due to unhealthy diets, we have to deploy every measure at our disposal, and a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising is entirely implementable. The Government included this measure in Chapter Two of the Childhood Obesity Plan, and we hope they will publish their proposals soon. It's not enough to restrict junk food ads only on dedicated children's channels or in places where it's possible to prove that more than 25% of the audience are children. Evidence shows a clear link between increased TV and online viewing and increased calorie consumption and snacking. It's time to close junk food advertising loopholes with a comprehensive 9pm watershed."

Online polling by YouGov reveals that public also support these measures, with:

  • 69% of people agreeing that children seeing junk food marketing contributes to childhood obesity
  • 72% supporting a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts during popular family TV shows
  • 70% supporting a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts online
  • 68% supporting a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts digital advertising outside of the home (e.g. cinemas, digital posters at bus stops/ on roadsides)


For more information:

Read the full Obesity Health Alliance position on a 9pm watershed for all HFSS food advertising.

Read the Obesity Health Alliance press release on the new public polling data in support of a 9pm Watershed

Published Thursday 28 February 2019

Children's Food Campaign: Better food and food teaching for children in schools, and protection of children from junk food marketing are the aims of Sustain's high-profile Children's Food Campaign. We also want clear food labelling that can be understood by everyone, including children.

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