Banning junk food adverts would lead to children in the U.K. eating the equivalent of 62 million fewer doughnuts per year, according to new research.
The U.K. government is considering implementing new rules that will ban junk food adverts online, and experts at the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), a coalition of more than 40 organisations that have joined together to prevent obesity-related ill health, have conducted an analysis to show the positive impact the ban will have on children.
According to their research, the total restriction of junk food ads will lead to children aged between four and 15 in the U.K. eating nearly 12.5 billion fewer calories a year. That's equivalent to removing 62 million doughnuts, 150 million chocolate biscuits or 41 million cheeseburgers a year from children's diets. That's enough doughnuts to fill up 88 small builder's skips every week, or enough chocolate biscuits to fill 183 wheelie bins.
"Whether they are scrolling social media, following their favourite influencers or simply researching their homework, children can't escape the endless and creative adverts and endorsements for junk food," Caroline Cerny, OHA's Alliance Lead, said in a statement, reports the Telegraph. "If the Government is at all serious about addressing obesity, it must take unhealthy food out of the spotlight and introduce regulation so only healthier food adverts can be shown."
The government's impact assessment calculations showed that the ban will remove 1,329 calories from a child's diet every year, but OHA experts point out that the figure assumes all children will benefit equally from the ban, when in reality, some children are exposed to far more advertising than others and previous research has shown children who are classed as overweight or obese eat more in response to advertising.
The proposed government restrictions will apply to high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods and drinks as well as ones that contribute to children's excess sugar and calorie intakes.