Advertising body begins obesity counter attack

The Advertising Association’s Food Advertising Unit (FAU) has mounted a public affairs and PR campaign to defend the advertising industry following publication of the Health Select Committee Report on obesity.

FAU director Jeremy Preston said the report – which claimed the influence of advertising on diet was ‘considerable’ and criticised the ‘ineffective’ Advertising Standards Authority – had made recommendations about advertising that were based on significant misunderstandings of advertising and its regulation.

MPs, external stakeholders and key policy makers are being targeted with details of the report’s ‘fundamental errors’. Parenting titles, trade press, regional newspapers and national print and broadcast media are also being contacted.

A recent YouGov survey of 1,500 adults, commissioned by Hill & Knowlton, found that 93 per cent of people believe parents have the most responsibility for ensuring children do not become obese – although 54 per cent of parents believe the advertising industry should also play its part.

Further investigation into the lifestyle factors that contribute to childhood obesity revealed that around 75 per cent of parents believed TV and computer games were contributory factors.

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