Ofcom to put TV on a diet

Regulator will outlaw commercials for unhealthy goods

U.K. communications regulator Ofcom is to impose tough restrictions on advertising food and drink to children on TV.

The regulator has decided that the case has been made against targeting children and it is just a matter of how severe the rules will be.

The Ofcom board is due to meet Tuesday and a decision expected soon after.

“Our board will significantly reduce food and drink advertising to children on TV,” said an Ofcom rep. “That is a given.”

Commercials for food and drink during daytime programs watched by children up to the age of 10 could be outlawed. The clampdown could ban specific products from TV before a certain time in the evening that’s yet to be set.

Ofcom will consider whether to impose a total ban on advertising food and drink or to restrict the number of ads on daytime TV.

The rules are expected to state that ads must avoid promoting poor nutritional habits or an unhealthy lifestyle in children, and do nothing to encourage children to buy — or encourage others to buy — the foods.

Further, Ofcom will rule that advertising should not make any misleading claims about the nutritional benefits of products.

This comes after research found that the adverts have a “modest direct effect” and “larger indirect effect” on kids’ eating habits and chimes with the government fight against obesity.

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