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Junk food advertising outlawed

Restrictions on children's junk food advertisements on the internet, radio and billboards are being considered by a group of Department of Health civil servants, following the news this month that Ofcom has announced a total ban on junk food advertising around all children's programming, on all children's channels and around all programmes that have a "particular appeal" to under 16-year-olds.

The Advertising Standards Authority is expected to follow the lead set by Ofcom with its new rules for children's magazines. Officials at the authority are finalising details of a scheme to scale down such advertising in the print media.

The scheme would ban advertisements for junk food from children's magazines to restrict the way fast food and snack companies promote their brands in such publications to boost the government-led push for health.

The moves come as part of the Government’s drive to reduce young people's exposure to products containing unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar and salt.

The Ofcom guidelines, to be introduced from January, are more severe than the TV and advertising industry had been hoping for but fell short of a complete pre-watershed ban that health campaigners were seeking.

However, the ban does not cover brand advertising. As long as no "unhealthy" products are featured, MacDonalds and Cadbury's will be allowed to run adverts during children's shows or even sponsor entire channels.

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