Moving Those Goalposts….

Children are still exposed to the same level of junk food advertising despite tighter regulations, research suggests.

Eh? Are companies breaching the regulations, then?

Newcastle University academics said 6.1% of adverts seen by children were about junk food before the ban – the figure was 7% after the ban.

It’s gone up! Albeit in a statistically insignificant rise. So, they must be, surely?

Well, no. Of course they aren’t.

The team noted that although most of the adverts stuck to the rules, children were still being exposed to junk food ads during other programming not particularly aimed at them.

And so the inevitable cry goes up ‘Ban it ALL! For the CHIIILDREEEENNNN!’.

Dr Jean Adams, lecturer in public health at Newcastle University, said: “While adverts stay within the letter of the law, I think we can say we’re still not getting the spirit of the law.

“These regulations were brought in to help young people make better lifestyle choices and encourage a healthier diet.

“However, what they are seeing is exactly the same amount of advertising for food which is high in salt or high in sugar and fat as before the regulations came in.”

Yes, but crucially, not in the areas you wanted banned because you claimed it would make a difference.

And the advertising standards people and the politicians were either too dim to see the yawning chasm opening up under their feet, or (as Bucko points out) quite happy to go along with your demands even though they could see it, because, at heart, they are all advocates of state control and no personal responsibility…

“We know advertising works – otherwise food companies wouldn’t use it – so we have a duty to further tighten up the restrictions particularly if we’re going to help our young people grow up to make good choices about the food they eat.”

Well, of course you have a duty! People like you always think so. And so do all the other fakecharities.

Look! Here they all come, right on cue:

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the research highlighted a “loophole” in the regulations.

BHF policy manager Mubeen Bhutta said: “To protect children all junk food adverts should be screened after the 9pm watershed and we want to see consistent advertising regulations across all forms of media, including online, to protect our children.

It’s time for the government to put the health of our children above the health of the advertising industry.”

And when all that fails to do the trick, there’s only one thing left to do. Ban the adverts. And then ban the food.

Hey, aren’t we missing someo…

Ah. There they are:

The World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) said the research demonstrated that the current rules did not go far enough.

Dr Kate Allen, director of science and communications at WCRF, said: “Children watch programmes other than kids’ TV shows and regulation should be extended to any programme where children make up a significant share of the audience.

“We would also like regulators to tackle the growth of online advertising and marketing aimed at children as well as areas like sports sponsorship.”

And they probably will. No, scratch that. They certainly will. After the Olympic Games, at least. Wouldn’t want to lose out on all that McDonald’s sponsorship money…

God forbid they should tell you to go suck a lemon, you had your shot and it didn’t work.

7 comments for “Moving Those Goalposts….

  1. ivan
    February 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

    And what exactly is wrong with salt and sugar? Where are the validated scientific results that PROVE they are bad for us?

    For every pseudo scientific study saying they are bad there is another saying they are good and the real science says that salt is essential.

  2. John
    February 18, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I wonder how much scarce taxpayer’s money is being lavished on this research at Newcastle University? Surely funding should focus on turning out graduates instead of cooking up numbers for fake charities?

  3. Robert Edwards
    February 18, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I suppose that ‘junk food’ is defined as anything which is not composed from Puy Lentils or knit-your-own yoghurt.

    And so it marches on. All food is processed – organic carrots are processed with horseshit, for example, rather like the argument propounded by the twonks quoted above.

    PS – (whisper): There is no spirit of the law, only the letter of it. Anything bar the letter is called an omission, or ‘loophole’.

    PPS A loophole is for shooting through. That is its purpose. Will someone tell them? I’m off for a Hamburger…

  4. john in cheshire
    February 18, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    Dr Kate Allen, eh?
    Dr Jean Adams, eh?
    Mubeen Bhutta, eh?
    These are names to remember.

    • David
      February 19, 2012 at 10:49 am

      Oh yes.


  5. Just another Albion
    February 18, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    I have a theory that we now have people keen on regulation because we don’t have any real goals to achieve.

    Once we would explore and discover, or we would invent or we would create.

    Okay, we know the world by now (and can’t afford space), everything we need has been invented (and anyway even if it wasn’t it would take a long long time to do it) and creativity? Well, you just download some tracks and maybe mix them up some.

    So, the restless energy has to go somewhere and what to do for the best… I know, let’s ban things! Let’s make a name for ourselves not by exploring or making, but by stopping people just being people. After all, there’s lots of things now in the world and if we can stop people doing what they want then think of the difference we can make in their lives!

    I mean, no one knows as much as us ‘cos we have taken time to read all the stuff on the tinterwebs and in the Guardian. We know!

    Now we can be famous without leaving our chairs, thanks to the miracle of moaning and bitching and demanding everyone does what we want.

    • February 18, 2012 at 7:46 pm

      I think you are onto something here.

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