Sadiq Khan floats ‘junk food’ advertising ban on entire TfL network

Obesity And Fast Food In America
Junk food advertising could be banned on TfL network under new proposals from Sadiq Khan (Source: Getty)

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has today proposed a ban on “junk food” across the entire Transport for London (TfL) network.

The move is intended to tackle the “ticking timebomb” of childhood obesity in London.

Khan said: “Child obesity in London is a ticking timebomb and I am determined to act. If we don’t take bold steps against it we are not doing right by our young people as well as placing a huge strain on our already pressurised health service in years to come.”

Read more: DEBATE: Will blocking junk food ads on social media help to tackle obesity?

According to the Mayor’s office London has one of the highest childhood obesity rates in Europe with 40 per cent of children aged 10 and 11 overweight or obese.

Children in poorer areas are disproportionately affected, with children in Barking and Dagenham almost twice as likely to be overweight as children from Richmond.

The proposals, which are open for consultation, would lead to a ban on advertisements for unhealthy food and drink across the TfL estate, including the London Underground, London Overground, buses and bus shelters.

Read more: Rules governing junk food ads to be reviewed by CAP

Director for transport strategy at TfL Lilli Matson said: “Asking Londoners what they think about only allowing healthier foods and drink to be advertised on our network, along with our work to encourage people to lead a more active lifestyle, are just some of the ways we are supporting the Mayor’s transport strategy to help make our city a healthier place for people to live in, work and visit.”

Hilary Ross, head of retail, food and hopstiality at law firm DWF, said: "Focusing on advertising alone is like using a ‘sticking plaster’ to mend a broken limb and fails to tackle the real issue. The increase of obesity in the UK is multidimensional, aspects of which include socioeconomic status, physical inactivity as well as what we eat, how much we eat and when we eat. What we need is a holistic approach that addresses all these issues by educating and addressing the nation’s attitude towards eating and drinking."

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