Dear Prime Minister, Listen to the Calls of Our Young People
The Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
16 July 2020
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the young people we work with at Bite Back 2030, we would like to commend you for protecting their health by taking action on obesity. Now is the time to follow the evidence and implement real change that will benefit Britain’s children today and in the future.
But we must share their frustration with you. Our young people fear measures to protect them are being overlooked in one key area; they want refuge from the millions spent advertising junk food.
As our powerful film illustrates, teens everywhere are being manipulated into eating food that is bad for them. During the day, 50% of food adverts are for HFSS food, rising to 60% from 6-9pm. They want an end to this relentless marketing. Instead they want you to force companies to make stars of healthy options - hiring the most creatively brilliant minds to deliver fantastic food ads; using their favourite sports stars and movie heroes to encourage them to eat food that is good for their health, not bad.
That is why we support a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising both on TV and online.
The Transport for London ban has shown us all that it can work. Advertising revenues went from £32m to £33m in the first quarter of last year as the brands kids know and love switched to advertising healthier products. Any arguments of a TV watershed leading to the displacement of the spend on marketing junk food to elsewhere, can be dealt with by simultaneous action on online advertising and in store promotions.
Research carried out by Bite Back 2030 during lockdown revealed a new awareness among young people from all backgrounds of food injustices. 40% of teens said they were worried about these injustices and wanted to see action taken to address them. That was before our campaign for free school meals provision over the summer, which we know galvanised them still further.
Please listen to the calls of our young people and take this opportunity to protect their health. Not acting now risks seriously undermining your obesity strategy from the start.
Bite Back 2030 Youth Board
Christina Adane (Co-Chair)
Tasha Mhakayakora (Co-Chair)
Dev Sharma (Member of Youth Parliament Leicestershire)
Rebecca Morgan (Member of Youth Parliament North Yorkshire)
Thomasina Miers, co-founder Wahaca
David Gandy, international supermodel, designer, columnist
James Cracknell OBE
Paul Lindley OBE, Founder Ella's Kitchen & Chair, London Child Obesity Taskforce
Baroness Anne Jenkin of Kennington
Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd
Andrew Selous, MP for South West Bedfordshire
Dr Lawrence Haddad, 2018 World Food Prize Laureate & Chair Bite Back 2030
Baroness Rosie Boycott
Caroline Cerny, Alliance Lead, Obesity Health Alliance
Professor Corinna Hawkes, Director Centre for Food Policy, City University
Dr Rishi Caleyachetty, Group Leader in Epidemiology, University of Oxford
Romy Gill and Anna Haugh, chefs & presenters BBC Ready Steady Cook
Margaret McCabe, Founder and CEO Debate Mate
Dan Parker, Former marketing executive & CEO Living Loud
Professor John Wass, University of Oxford
Professor Emma Frew, Health Economics, University of Birmingham