News / Children's Food Campaign

A comprehensive 9pm watershed on junk food advertising is the right thing to support parents

The Children’s Food Campaign welcomes the start of a government consultation on proposals to introduce a 9pm watershed on the advertising of high fat, salt and/or sugar (HFSS) products on TV and equivalent restrictions online.

In response to the publication of proposals for a 9pm watershed on HFSS advertising, Barbara Crowther, Co-ordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign, said:

“We welcome the start of government consultation on a 9pm watershed on TV and online. We believe that a comprehensive 9pm watershed for HFSS advertising, which spans TV, websites, social media, gaming and apps, cinema and other forms of digital advertising, is the right thing to do. The government has set an ambitious target to halve childhood obesity by 2030. There is increasing evidence that the more children are exposed to junk food marketing, the more likely they are to consume excess sugar and calories. Parents have a powerful role to play in encouraging healthy eating habits, but they tell us their job is made so much harder when their children are constantly seeing advertising for junk foods, and asking for these products." 

The Children’s Food Campaign conducted research with 140 parents across the UK, asking their views on a 9pm watershed after it was first mentioned in the Government’s Childhood Obesity Plan Chapter 2 in June 2018. Barbara Crowther said:

"Nearly 9 in 10 parents in our survey supported the idea of government introducing a 9pm watershed for all foods high in fat, sugar and/or salt, so we hope that policy makers will listen carefully to the views of both parents and health professionals during this consultation.

“A huge majority of parents we’ve spoken to have said they’re concerned about how their children are constantly exposed to advertising of unhealthy foods – from ads seen during prime time family TV shows, to ads popping up on YouTube, or kids’ favourite TV and film characters being used to promote confectionery, snacks and less healthy fast food. These marketing tactics constantly undermine parents’ efforts to encourage healthy eating habits with their children. 

"Tackling childhood obesity is a complex issue requiring many different types of action, but we strongly believe a 9pm watershed on advertising HFSS products is a critical piece of the overall jigsaw to create a healthier food environment for our children.”

The government consultation on introducing a 9pm watershed on the advertising of foods high in fat, salt and/or sugar is being led jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. The deadline for submissions is 10 June 2019.  The Children's Food Campaign will be responding to the consultation, and encourages members of the public, parents, teachers and health professionals, community organisations and others to join in.

The full details of the government consultation can be found as follows:

Consultation document: Introducing further advertising restrictions on TV and online for products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS).

Impact Assessment document: Introducing a 2100-0530 watershed on TV advertising for HFSS products and similar protection for children online.

Public responses to the consultation can be submitted via the official online portal or by emailing


Further background information:

Read the position of the Children’s Food Campaign and Obesity Health Alliance on a 9pm watershed.

Read responses from health

Read Children's Food Campaign Parents' Jury Survey report on Junk Food Marketing.

Read the full Government document on Childhood Obesity: A Plan For Action, Chapter Two, June 2018

Read Cancer Research UK's evidence briefing on junk food marketing and childhood obesity.

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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