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UK government adds plans to ban sweets at supermarket checkouts to childhood obesity fight

The days of sweets at supermarket checkouts could be numbered / Pixabay image

New government plans to tackle childhood obesity could see sweets at supermarket checkouts and two-for-one deals on junk food banned.

Reports suggest health secretary Jeremy Hunt is keen to introduce a watershed, similar to the one for showing sex and violence, on advertising products high in salt or sugar with ministers considering banning cartoons such as Tony the Tiger and the Milky Bar Kid from promoting junk food.

Also in the firing line are energy drinks and unlimited refills of sugary soft drinks at restaurants.

“Where food is placed in shops and how it is promoted can influence the way we shop and it is more common for HFSS (high in fat, sugar and salt) products to be placed in the most prominent places in store as well as sold on promotion, for example, with ‘buy one get one free’ offers,’ a report cited in the Telegraph said.

The news comes following research that showed around half of television food and drink adverts seen by children are for HFSS products or fast food chains, despite the fact junk food advertising during children’s programmes has been banned since 2007.

Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) revealed 70% of TV campaign for HFFS products or restaurants are shown prior to 9pm. The Health and Social Care Committee suggested not banning junk food ads before 9pm would “call into question” the governments commitment to tackling childhood obesity.

Last month, The Drum reported a crackdown on junk food promotions was set to come into force and in early May reports circulated that junk food ads could face a ban on the London tube and bus network.

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