The announcement that government will press ahead with a ban on TV and online ads for junk food after 9pm is long overdue and has been welcomed by local health charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke.
“We welcome this, as obesity is one of NI’s greatest public health challenges with one in every four adults and around one in every five children are obese. This can lead to several serious and potentially life-threatening conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer and type 2 diabetes”.
“We know junk food advertising is linked to unhealthy choices and calorie intake especially for children and young people, so this ban on junk food after 9pm is definitely needed to protect our children and everyone from the constant bombarding of adverts for high fat and sugary food”
Said NICHS spokesperson Neil Johnston.
“We also know that no amount of government legislation on advertising or on the make up or availability of foods will radically tackle obesity. However, this is an excellent step forward to support people to make healthier instead of unhealthy choices. It will help protect and improve our public health”
“However, there is a lot more to do in NI to develop healthy environments and lifestyle behaviour changes to prevent and reduce obesity. More targeted action is needed to tackle the health inequalities associated with poorer lifestyles and obesity too. NICHS will continue to support and campaign for this change”.
“NICHS is doing what we can to help. We run a school programme helping kids in some of our most deprived areas – advising them on a healthy lifestyle. And our Health Checks reach thousands of people every year helping to support people make change. We are also funding vital research to promote and embed positive obesity related behaviours within schools”
“One of the areas government could and should to more is in increasing physical activity in schools. Stormont needs to do more to ensure our kids are getting more PE and more advice and support to keep active. We hope our research will influence this policy area in the future too”
“However, we welcome this step forward by government in banning TV and Online ads for junk food after 9pm, as we know COVID has had impact on our lifestyle behaviours and there has been an increase in screen time, so this ban was badly needed”
“As we hopefully emerge from the Covid pandemic – where we know that mortality from the virus was closely linked with obesity – we must all realise more than ever the importance of tackling obesity.”
Neil Johnston 07971256671
Obesity figures from NI Direct https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/conditions/obesity
 aged 2 to 15 years.