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1 Children’s diets Some difficult home truths? Richard Watts, Children’s Food Campaign

2 Introduction The Children’s Food Campaign A crisis in children's diets? The health effects Restricting adverts is part of the solution An opportunity?

3 The Children’s Food Campaign The Children’s Food Campaign is made up of 171 national organisations and 143 local organisations 12,000 registered supporters Introduced the Children’s Food Bill, supported by 288 MPs Coordinated by Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

4 The Children’s Food Campaign We campaign to: Protect children from junk food advertising and marketing Introduce better, clearer food labelling Ensure all children learn food skills – like cooking and growing – in schools Keep improving food in schools

5 Thank you A crisis in children’s diets?

6 A crisis in children's diets? There is a crisis in children’s diets: 92% of children consume more saturated fat than is recommended 86% consume too much sugar 72% consume too much salt 96% do not get enough fruit and vegetables (Source: National Diet & Nutrition Survey)

7 A crisis in children's diets? The Chief Medical Officer has compared the crisis in children’s diets to a health “time bomb” which must be defused. ‘Health Check ‘annual report, 2003.

8 The health effects of the children’s diet crisis

9 The health effects Diet-related ill health: –Obesity –Heart disease –Diabetes Mental health as well as physical health

10 The rise in childhood obesity A complex problem with a range of causes, but diet is clearly one of them One in three children is now obese or overweight Obesity in under-11s has risen by over 40% in ten years Source: National Audit Office, Healthcare Commission, Audit Commission (2006); Tackling Childhood Obesity – First Steps.

11 Consequences of childhood obesity Heart disease: overweight children are 3 – 5 times more likely to suffer a heart attack later in life Diabetes: Type 2 diabetes used to be known as “late onset” - now prevalent among teenagers Obesity in childhood is likely to develop into obesity in adulthood, increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes or cancer in later life

12 Costs of obesity Each year obesity causes: Losses to the economy of between £6.6 billion and £7.4 billion 18 million days sick leave 30,000 premature deaths Source: National Audit Office

13 Psychological effects Junk food diets have significant effects on children’s behaviour, concentration, learning ability and mood. Children with diets lacking in essential vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids tend to perform worse academically, cannot concentrate and are more aggressive.

14 To sum up: “The Chair of the Food Standards Agency has warned that for the first time in more than a century, life expectancy may fall, with the real prospect that parents may outlive their children.” ‘Official: fat epidemic will cut life expectancy’, The Observer, 9 November 2003.

15 The role of advertising

16 The role of advertising “Children are targeted every day with messages that promote foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar, and this has been shown to influence children's food choices.” Dame Deirdre Hutton, Chair, Food Standards Agency

17 The effect of advertising “Advertising has an impact on children's food preferences, purchasing behaviour and consumption at both brand and category levels and these effects are independent of other factors” Source: Hastings et al. ‘Does food promotion influence children? A systematic review.’ Food Standards Agency

18 The effect of advertising “Experimental studies have shown that children exposed to food advertising prefer to eat advertised food products more frequently than those children not exposed to such adverts.” Source: Story, M French, S Food Advertising and Marketing Directed at Children and Adolescents in the US, International Journal of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity

19 The effect of advertising “Children are much easier to reach with advertising. They pick up on it fast and quite often we can exploit that relationship and get them pestering parents.” Stephen Colegrave of Saatchi & Saatchi, quoted in The Guardian.

20 What is advertised?

21 When children watch TV Children (aged 4-15) watch an average of 17 hours of TV a week: 12 hours (71%) is spent in adult airtime 5 hours (29%) in children’s airtime Restrictions during the hours of children’s TV will not work!

22 Benefits of a 9pm watershed Health benefits costed at up to almost £1billion a year, probably much more Removes 82% of junk food advert ‘hits’ with children Costs broadcasters c. £100 million – less than half what ITV gave to shareholders last year alone Source: Ofcom

23 Cost effectiveness Australian study into cost effectiveness of different treatments for obesity Compared the cost of keeping one child healthy for an extra year: –Advertising restrictions: under $8 –School programmes: $1000 –More PE in schools: $5000 –After-school physical activity: $50,000

24 Don’t believe the hype “The obesity problem isn’t to do with diet” “All foods can be healthy” “Food advertising only has a 2% effect” “Voluntary codes are more effective” “It’s parents’ responsibility”

25 Summary Restricting junk food adverts is not the only answer to the children’s diet crisis… …but it is the most cost effective…...and saves a great deal more money that it costs. Finally, not restricting junk food TV adverts will undermine every other initiative to improve children’s diet and health.

26 And the future? “I think we have got to do something about television advertising before the watershed hour” Rt Hon Gordon Brown MP on GMTV October 2006

27 An opportunity? Consumer behaviour is changing The regulatory environment is getting tougher People can see through the spin Companies that adapt quickest will thrive

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