I have very recently started supporting a campaign called #AdEnough.
British Chef Jamie Oliver has called for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising on TV, and for control over what adverts kids see online, in the street and on public transport. This awareness campaign is to outline to the British government, how many people are actually concerned about junk-food marketing and that they should be concerned and do something about it (since they do have a massive say on what gets published in the media). To support, you post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your hand over your eyes, captioned with the hashtag #AdEnough.
Here in Britain we have an epidemic of child obesity. Okay, children should be under the influence of their parents and schools right? So that means surely, it’s a ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do’ attitude and simply put, if the parents eat well at home, and the schools provide physical education and good food, the children will be healthy. *Big Breath* It sounds easy but unfortunately, this not the case. Child obesity has risen almost 10% in the past year and 1 out of 5 children classed as Obese.
They have been trying to reduce childhood obesity for the past decade or so (I was in secondary school when the first campaign started and our delicious chicken burgers and donuts were abolished… Don’t worry, I am definitely thankful for it now, Jamie Oliver.) With the rise in child obesity again and again and with rules already put in place in the school environment, it looks like more needs to be done outside the school fences. Jamie is trying to reduce the prominence of junk-food influences and by that I mean ones that are OUT of the parents control like Posters in the street, TV and radio Advertising, YouTube Ads, that sort of thing.
Thinking back to my childhood; I was a VERY well fed British kid who grew up in the late 1990s. I spent most of my childhood outside (helping my mum with gardening, on my bike or roller blades). I only ever watched TV when it was raining, only ever got fast food or takeaway during birthdays and sweets or chocolate after passing spelling/maths tests with top marks- which was rare for me because I’m not that smart). But I grew up absolutely loving healthy food.
My mum was the enforcer of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Which is understandable because she grew up in a small village in the Philippines, and moved here not knowing or understanding the appeal or dependency of convenience-food.
If you have ever travelled around the Philippines, or maybe you’re from there; You’d know that although the country is only very slowly incorporating elements of western culture, junk food is still classed as a luxury and is not accessible to most families outside of the city (Note: Poverty is still common). The nation is completely surrounded by an abundance of fresh, affordable, healthy food and Filipinos are very traditional with home-cooked family meals being one of the most important parts of any household.
Despite living the same childhood as my older sister, par the 20 months before I was born, she was the complete opposite to me with her attitude towards food. She was a very fussy eater, only ever wanting something breaded or something that came in a novelty shape, or came with a novelty item, chips, or just chocolate. Even with the rarity of having unhealthy food in our household she was older, lazier. Our main difference was that she watched a hell of a lot more TV.
To support this view of media influence, and with our multicultural upbringing in mind. The Philippines is a lot further from an epidemic of obesity than we are here in Britain, and although I’ve basically just sold it as a wonderfully healthy place, the children still seem to have junk food issues just like they do here in the UK.
So why is there a junk food problem out there? Well, because of the media and the mass amount of advertising. Everywhere you look there’s Ice cream. Chocolate. Burgers. Hot dogs. You name it! The children suffer from poor appetites, so much so that it’s classed as an epidemic. Alongside all their junk food marketing, the media try and counteract it with the advertising of vitamins and medication tailored for poor appetites.
This is an example of the affects junk food advertising can have on children just like it did on my older sister. Here in the UK we can easily get our hands on junk food, it is (apparently) more affordable than healthy food, convenient and if you live in London you know you’re never more than a couple roads away from a fast-food-restaurant. If you watch TV you still find adverts for junk foods, you go on YouTube, you’ll find stars eating and posting junk food (#mukbang), and if you go outside there’s pretty packaging in supermarkets and poster ads for fast food everywhere.
The point I’m make in this blog is that if you take away the advertising then you take away the trigger that makes your child crave it, the potential tantrum (because of the influence made to create a poor appetite) and the effort of having to say “No”. This campaign is so important for the future of food and the future of children’s health.
If you think that this campaign is as important to you as it is to me, show your support you post a picture on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with your hand over your eyes, captioned with the hashtag #AdEnough.