Scotland schools ban fast food ads

Fast food advertising in vending machines in schools have been banned in Scotland. The move has been hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against child obesity. From this point of view, the ban is timely: among the age group 16-24 in Britain, 32 per cent of males and 33 per cent of women are overweight. The question is: is it really a breakthrough?

 
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- Scotland Schools, Fast Food

Fast food advertising in vending machines in schools have been banned in Scotland. The move has been hailed as a breakthrough in the fight against child obesity. From this point of view, the ban is timely: among the age group 16-24 in Britain, 32 per cent of males and 33 per cent of women are overweight. The question is: is it really a breakthrough?

Although ads of companies including Coca-cola and Mars (chocolate bars) will be removed from school machines, the products will continue to be sold. Schools, will, however, offer fruit juice and water alongside. Junior health minister Stephen Ladyman, while announcing the ban, said that were no plans to introduce a "blanket ban" on "fizzy" drinks. "Changing children's diets to cut levels of salt, fat and sugar is a crucial tool in reducing levels of obesity," he said, adding that the government hoped to learn some lessons from the Scottish scheme that could be useful in England.

That's unlikely: early in December, on the very day culture secretary Tessa Jowell called for tougher regulation of children's food advertising, it transpired that Coca-cola would sponsor the music charts used by Radio 1 and Top of the Pops, channels aired via the bbc radio network. While observers have criticised the company for two-facedness (it claims not to advertise to children under 12, but kids of this age group are avid listeners of these channels), it plans to do a Kazaa by itself: it will use its sponsorship of the Top of the Pops charts as a way to get stars to endorse its new music download service.

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