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Why the Time is Right for a 9pm Watershed

Rebecca Morgan

As a young person I live in a world where most young lives are being lived through screens from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. Very few of us doubt that the content that we are being shown on our TVs and mobiles is among the most persuasive created by media advertisers, which is why it's no wonder junk food companies spent over £143 million on advertising each year. It’s because it works.

Yet this amount is almost 30 times the £5 million spent annually by the Government on healthy eating campaigns. And so, it's now that we must ask ourselves, why aren’t we fighting to prioritize the health of our young people? Why, even after continued exposure to advertising has been repeatedly proven to manipulate young people into buying what the companies are selling, is fast food still being shown the spotlight?

Surely it's time for the curtain to close on junk food's starring roles in our advertising spaces and give a new focus to healthy nutritious food. The health of our communities has never been more important - surely it’s time for a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising.

Now it is more important than ever to identify ways in which the government can continue to protect young people’s health.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the world was already facing a public health emergency which continued to grow year after year, with little to no intervention; childhood obesity. It affects the health of more and more young people's health all across the country every year. In 2019, 20.1% of year 6 children were classed as obese with a further 14.2% being classed as overweight, both figures were up from previous years. We owe it to the youth of our country to ask why this dangerous trend continues to repeat itself. Now it is more important than ever to identify ways in which the government can continue to protect young people’s health, be that through clearer labelling; standardized portion sizes; and most importantly, introducing a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising.

The issue is clear; if we do not start identifying and utilizing methods, starting with the 9pm watershed across all media, then we are actively, and knowingly, putting the health of our young people at risk.

Now is the right time to act and start protecting the health of our young people.

Now is the time to implement a 9pm watershed against fast food advertisers

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