This report places the crisis in children's diet-related health in the context of the unhealthy food environments which have become part-and-parcel of their everyday lives.
Using a range of examples from a number of policy areas (for example, control of tobacco advertising, alcohol promotion and marketing of breastmilk substitutes), the report explains how industry is unable, in a competitive market, to exercise the social responsibility required to make voluntary approaches successful. It also demolishes the many arguments used by the food and advertising industries to promote self-regulation rather than effective legislation.
1. What is wrong with children's diets?
- The "timebomb" is exploding
What is causing the problem?
- Junk food promotions targeted at children
- Poor quality food in schools
- Inadequate food education and skills
- Insufficient promotion for healthy food
How the Children's Food Bill will address the causes
- Improving the quality of children’s food
- Protecting children from unhealthy food marketing
- Improving the quality of food in schools
- Ensuring all children have essential food skills and knowledge
- Promoting healthy food to children
- Support for the Children's Food Bill
Government's current approach
- The five-a-day programme
- The "Jamie Oliver" initiative
- No change in the curriculum
- Voluntary restrictions on food marketing
2. Voluntary approaches do not work
- Tobacco advertising
- Alcohol promotion
- Marketing breastmilk substitutes
- Using pesticides and antibiotics in farming
- Controlling supermarket power
Why are voluntary approaches ineffective?
- Voluntary codes are weak
- There are commercial incentives not to comply
- There are no meaningful sanctions for non-compliance
- Independent operation and monitoring is rare
- The real purpose of voluntary approaches?
3. Arguments used against the Children's Food Bill
- There is no problem
- There is a problem, but it is all down to physical inactivity
- All foods can be healthy
- Food marketing has no, or only a minor effect on children's diets
- Media literacy is the solution
- Voluntary codes are more flexible
- Marketing is already heavily regulated
- It is parents' responsibility, not the "nanny" state
- An ad ban would be:
- A short-term, simplistic and populist measure
- A problem for children's TV
- Too costly
- National organisations supporting the Children’s Food Bill
- MPs who signed Early Day Motion 1256 in support of the Children's Food Bill
The Childrens Food Bill: Why we need a new law, not more voluntary approaches
ISBN: 1 903060 37 0 - 40pp - 2005 | 2800Kb
Published Tuesday 31 May 2005
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.