Campaigners want wider ban on junk food adverts

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A ban on adverts for junk food appearing during television programmes aimed at children under 16 came into force last week, in the latest phase of restrictions imposed by media regulator Ofcom.

Last April, the advertising of foods high in fat, salt and sugar wasbanned from television programmes made for pre-school children andprogrammes likely to appeal to children aged under nine (News, 1 March2007).

From December 2008 dedicated children's channels will be banned fromshowing advertisements for such foods altogether.

The new restrictions have been criticised by health campaigners, whohave said that a complete ban on junk food advertising before 9pm isnecessary to fight the child obesity epidemic.

Richard Watts from the Children's Food Campaign said, 'The rulesintroduced this week will make little or no difference to children'shealth. Because the rules only look at the proportion of children in theaudience and not the number of children watching, 18 out of the 20programmes most watched by children, such as 'The X Factor' and 'Ant andDec', will be unaffected.

'We know that Ofcom wants to support the television industry and thefinances of broadcasters, but we are asking the Government to protectchildren.'

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