Junk food adverts look set to be banned from London’s tube and bus network by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, in an attempt to curb an epidemic of childhood obesity. This follows a #adenough campaign launched by Jamie Oliver campaign in April calling for the introduction of a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on television and controls over where adverts can be placed in public areas and on transport.
London has one of the highest child overweight and obesity rates in Europe, with almost 40 percent of children aged 10 and 11 overweight or obese.
“Child obesity in London is a ticking time bomb and I am determined to act. If we don’t take bold steps against it we are not doing right by our young people as well as placing a huge strain on our already pressurised health service,” Khan said in a statement.
The ban will target food retailers with products deemed high in fat, salt or sugar such as McDonald’s.
Food and drink advertising contributed around 20 million pounds ($27 million) to Transport for London’s revenue during the 2016-17 financial year.
A spokesperson from the mayor’s office said, “About two-thirds of this comes from high fat, salt and sugar, food and drink.”
The National Centre for Social Research and Cancer Research UK found advertising of unhealthy foods – particularly when aimed at children – creates extra pressure on children and families when it comes to choosing what to eat and drink.
“I want to reduce the influence and pressure that can be put on children and families to make unhealthy choices,” Khan said. “I’m determined to do all I can to tackle this issue with the powers I have and help Londoners make healthy food choices for themselves and their children.”
The plans are a key part of the mayor’s draft London Food Strategy and echo initiatives that have been introduced in Amsterdam this year.
“The government needs to step up and join this fight against childhood obesity,” Khan said.