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Junk food ads trimmed.

BRITISH MEDIA and marketing tycoons are having coronaries over a recent decision to ban junk food ads from UK television shows targeting kids.

But public health groups say the measure does not go far enough.

The new ban, crafted by Ofcom--the UK regulating body for the communications industries--is intended to reduce youth exposure to junk food advertisements, in hopes of decreasing junk food consumption, and thus obesity rates, among young people.

The ruling mandates a complete ban on the advertisement of junk food during children's TV shows, as well as adult shows with at least 20 percent more viewers aged 16 and under than the UK average. A rating system, developed by the Food Standards Agency, will determine which foods are junk foods, based on their fat, sugar and salt content.

"The regulations will be based on a nutrient profiling model that is scientifically flawed," argues says Melanie Leech, director general of the UK Food and Drink Federation, an industry trade association, and will "be an unnecessary curb on adult viewing."

But Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics at the British Medical Association, says "OFCOM's ban on programs targeted at under-16s does not go far enough." Public health advocates had pushed for a ban on all junk food advertising on television before 9 PM.

"Some of the most popular programs amongst the under-16s are soaps which will not be covered by this ban," says Nathanson. "OFCOM clearly believes that TV advertising has an effect on children's eating habits, yet it does not have the courage to recommend a more comprehensive ban."
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Title Annotation:BEHIND THE LINES
Author:Lazare, Sarah
Publication:Multinational Monitor
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 1, 2006
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