MARKETING | Staff Reporter, UK

London mayor bans junk food ads to tackle rising levels of obesity

The city may also ban new hot food takeaways close to schools.

Billboards advertising junk food offered by vendors like McDonald’s Corp. might be banned from London’s Underground rail and bus network under new plans announced by the city’s mayor as part of his efforts to tackle rising levels of childhood obesity.

Sadiq Khan, elected mayor of London in 2016, said he wanted to reduce the influence and pressure put on children and families to make unhealthy choices. Nearly 40% of 10-11 year-olds in the capital are overweight or obese, one of the highest rates in Europe, the mayor’s office said.

Khan also proposed a ban on new hot food takeaway stores opening within 400 meters (1,300 feet) of schools. Children from poorer areas are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, he said, adding that young people from Barking and Dagenham in East London are almost twice as likely to be overweight as children from the upmarket Richmond neighborhood in the West.

The advertising proposals would use an already established nutrient profiling system to determine whether a food or drink is high in fat, salt and sugar. The model is currently used by the U.K.’s Advertising Standards Authority and its communications regulator Ofcom.

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