Following the publication on October 17 by Welsh Government of its ‘Healthy Weight: Healthy Wales’ strategy to prevent and reduce obesity in Wales, which among other initiatives proposes new restrictions on advertising, the Advertising Association issued the following response.
Stephen Woodford, Chief Executive, Advertising Association commented:
“We support Welsh Government’s aim to reduce obesity and support healthy living in Wales. But contrary to being ‘constantly bombarded with advertisements’ that are ‘often targeted at children’ as the report claims, advertising in Wales is among the most strictly regulated in the world. In fact, advertising for high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) food and drink is already banned in media where children made up more than 25% of the audience, whether online, in the street, or on public transport. Adverts for these products are also restricted in and around TV programmes commissioned for, or likely to appeal to children, and the rules have led to significant falls in exposure of under-16s to HFSS advertising since they were originally introduced in 2007. Practical healthy living and eating initiatives that target the deprived communities in Wales most at risk from obesity will be far more effective in promoting a healthy lifestyle than excessive new rules and blanket bans that would be difficult to enforce and have little-to-no effect on rates of obesity across the country.”