Luton Council launches policy to restrict advertising of high fat and sugary foods

The council’s Executive approved the Luton Healthier Food and Drink Advertising policy
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Luton is the is among the first ten councils across the country to adopt a healthy food and drink advertising policy.

The council’s Executive approved the Luton Healthier Food and Drink Advertising policy which will restrict the advertising of products high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS) on all council-owned assets. HFSS products include chocolate, confectionary, cakes, biscuits, puddings, savoury snacks, fried foods and sugary drinks.

The impact of eating unhealthy foods can increase risks of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

The council will be limiting advertising of high fat and sugary foods. Photo by Engin Akyurt.The council will be limiting advertising of high fat and sugary foods. Photo by Engin Akyurt.
The council will be limiting advertising of high fat and sugary foods. Photo by Engin Akyurt.

The latest data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) indicates that, in Luton, over 11 per cent of reception age children and 29 per cent of children aged 10 to 11, were obese compared to national rates of 10 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.

The policy aims to reduce the exposure to images often targeted towards children, young adults and those living in more disadvantaged areas.

The restriction will come into effect for new and renewed leases/licenses.

Public health portfolio-holder Councillor Khtija Malik said: “We know that the reasons why people eat unhealthy foods are complex, and more recently eating habits have moved towards convenience foods that are easy to prepare. However, the consequences of consuming these type of products are severe, especially in children, and can include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease.”

She added the policy would contribute to the council’s 2040 vision to improve the health outcomes for residents.

Fran Bernhardt, Children’s Food Campaign Coordinator, Sustain said: “We're delighted to have worked with Luton Council on this policy. At a time when our national government is repeatedly failing children and adults by stalling on important health measures, Luton Council has stood up to the food and drinks industry on behalf of all their residents. We know that those living in the most deprived areas are most affected by unhealthy food advertising, and most at risk from diet related diseases. So by removing the spotlight from unhealthy foods, Luton is supporting their local area to level up. Huge congratulations to Luton! You will inspire many others to follow suit.”

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