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Junk food ads decision will not protect children

The advertising standards agency Ofcom has announced a ban on television commercials promoting unhealthy food and drink during programmes aimed at children up to the age of 16.

Diabetes UK is disappointed that Ofcom did not adopt a 9pm watershed on all unhealthy food TV advertising. The Ofcom decision means that many adult shows popular with children – including well-known soap operas - will not be subject to the announced restrictions.

"We are dismayed that a 9pm watershed for television advertising of unhealthy food has not been recommended by Ofcom," said Cathy Moulton, Care Advisor at Diabetes UK.

"We should not be putting our children’s future health at risk for the sake of advertising revenues.

"Being overweight greatly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputations."

The new restrictions will apply to all food and drinks products which are high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) as defined by the Food Standards Agency.

In addition, celebrities and cartoon characters (apart from the manufacturers' own characters) will be banned from promoting junk foods in advertising to children. 

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