The Dental Faculty of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow and Obesity Action Scotland (OAS) have jointly welcomed the UK Government’s decision to introduce a post 9pm ban on advertising high fat sugar and salt (HFSS) food together with a number of online restrictions.
Andy Edwards, Dean of the Dental Faculty, said:
“Paediatric dental extractions are the number one reason for hospital admission for children in the UK and the cost in 2019 for these was over £40 million. We know that the sugar intake as a percentage of total energy intake of children aged 4-18 years is fourteen percent compared with a recommended level of five percent.
“There are still some concerns that loopholes and exemptions in the new rules may mean the junk food industry finds alternative routes to promote their products to children.
“There is still concern at the online exposure through social media and that children are still likely to encounter this form of advertising as they increasingly spend more time on-line. We will still push for total restriction of online advertising of HFSS foods.
“We are disappointed at the exclusion of so called “diet or sugar free” versions of drinks where they have been evidenced as a contributory factor in dental erosion due to their high acidic nature.
“Dental decay is an avoidable disease and dental health inequalities still exist in the UK – there is still a significant amount of work still to be done in addressing these issues.”
Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead, Obesity Action Scotland said:
“In Scotland 131,000 children are at risk of obesity and we must take the necessary steps to reduce this number and protect our children’s health. Restricting advertising is an important part of the package of measures needed to reduce rates of childhood obesity.
“We are delighted to see this significant step forward in protecting children from the incessant stream of unhealthy food and drink advertising that we know influences their choices. We will follow its development closely to ensure that it provides the maximum protection to children’s health.”