Laura Sharman 17 March 2016

Councils call for power to protect children from junk food advertising

Councils have called for new powers to ban junk food advertising near schools, nurseries and children's centres in a bid to tackle child obesity.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said the move would reduce children’s exposure to unhealthy food and drinks. At the moment, councils must apply to the secretary of state and consult the public is they wish to control advertising near schools.

Cllr Richard Kemp, deputy chair of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board, said: 'We urgently need to take action to tackle child obesity, and giving councils powers to control marketing of junk food, which is one of the major causes of this epidemic, will help us to tackle the issue.

'We are not saying every council should be using these powers, but it gives local authorities the option of working with parents and schools to ban junk food advertising near schools, nurseries and children centres, if they feel it can make a difference and improve children’s health in their town or city.'

A recent study found that 75% of food and drink marketing seen by young people was for junk food, with many buying more than one food or drink item in response.

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