Diabetes professors support ban on junk food adverts

Junk food advertising aimed at children has “no place in a fit and proper society”, according to a leading diabetes expert in light of a further clampdown.

The Committee of Advertising Practice has launched a consultation on introducing new restrictions on the advertising of food and soft drink products to children. Proposals include introducing a ban on online adverts promoting foods which are high in fat and sugar targeted at youngsters, with such adverts already banned on television.

Professor Melanie Davies CBE and Professor Kamlesh Khunti, who both lead the Leicester Diabetes Centre, an international centre of excellence in diabetes research, education and innovation, are supporting the move.

Professor Khunti, Professor of Primary Care Diabetes & Vascular Medicine at the University of Leicester and also a GP, said: “Children and families do need protection from clever advertising designed to encourage the consumption of unhealthy junk food. People need to make healthy choices otherwise they are putting themselves at risk of a host of illnesses linked to obesity, including Type 2 diabetes.”

Professor Davies CBE, Professor of Diabetes Medicine at the University of Leicester, added: “Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle, is a serious condition which can lead to devastating complications, including amputation, blindness, kidney failure and stroke. Junk food advertising aimed at encouraging children to eat unhealthily has no place in a fit and proper society.”

Up to 30 per cent of children in the UK are obese or overweight, putting them at higher risk of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses in later life.

Leicester Diabetes Centre is a partnership between the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust and the University of Leicester, based at Leicester General Hospital.