Tower Hamlets council has recently approved an exciting and game-changing healthier advertising policy, making it the seventh local authority in the UK to take a strong stand against junk food advertising. This remarkable decision aims to combat the excessive exposure of unhealthy food advertisements and images, which often target children and young people in disadvantaged areas.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of the charitable alliance, Sustain, Tower Hamlets has finally joined the league of forward-thinking local authorities that have already implemented similar changes. These include four London boroughs, namely Haringey, Southwark, Barnsley, and Greenwich, as well as Bristol and Merton in outer London.
In addition to these regions, even Transport for London network jumped on board the healthier advertising train in 2019, introducing a policy to ban junk food ads. Remarkably, they reported that this decision has not affected their advertising revenues, proving that prioritizing health does not compromise financial success.
The introduction of individual policies by local authorities is a result of setbacks in national government anti-obesity measures. Despite multiple delays, a ban on junk food advertising online and on TV after 9pm is now set to take effect in January 2025, three years later than originally planned.
Fran Bernhardt, the coordinator of Sustain's children's food campaign, expressed delight over working with Tower Hamlets Council to shift the advertising spotlight away from unhealthy foods and drinks. The council's decision has sparked a growing movement, with over 100 other councils seeking advice from Sustain to create their own healthier advertising policies.
Tower Hamlets' mayor, Lutfur Rahman, emphasized that this policy is just one aspect of a larger program aimed at promoting child health in the borough. By taking this bold step, the council aims to reduce health inequalities and hopes to inspire other organizations in Tower Hamlets to adopt similar policies.
With Tower Hamlets Council leading the way, it is evident that change is possible, and healthier communities can be built. By restricting the advertising of junk food and promoting healthier alternatives, the council is actively shaping a brighter and healthier future for the children of Tower Hamlets.