Call to protect children from junk food advertising and cut obesity
NHS spending on obesity is soaring as junk food companies pour millions of pounds into advertising unhealthy products in the UK, a group of leading charities has warned.
The 18 top-spending crisp, confectionery and sugary drinks brands are paying out more than £143 million a year on advertising, according to analysis by the Obesity Health Alliance (OHA), released to mark World Obesity Day.
The NHS meanwhile spends an estimated £38 million a year on weight loss surgery as part of £5.1 billion on obesity-related conditions.
The millions spent on junk food advertising also “dwarfs” the £5.2 million spent by the Government last year on its flagship healthy eating programme, leading to an “unbalanced environment pushing consumers towards unhealthy choices”, the alliance of 40 leading health charities said.
Junk food brands are spending 27.5 times more on advertising their products than the amount available for the Government’s Change4Life healthy eating campaign, while NHS spending on weight loss surgery alone is an estimated six times the amount spent on the Change4Life campaign, according to the analysis.