The UK wants to get rid of cartoon characters on cereal boxes to combat child obesity
As tasty as all those cheese towers and monster burgers are, they are indeed leading us, rather hastily, to a premature grave. Eating unhealthy foods like these have been proven to significantly increase your chance of morbid diseases like obesity and even cause fatalities.
The U.K. continues to crack down hard on its obesity problem, as organisations like Public Health England suggest limitations of 1600 calories a day for the average adult diet.
The nation also is concerned about the health of its youngest citizens, since the BBC asserts that “almost 60 percent more children in their last year of primary school are classified as ‘severely obese’ than in their first year, according to Public Health England figures for England and Wales,” suggesting that students’ weight problems worsen as they get older.
In an effort to combat the U.K.’s worsening health, the BBC reports that “cartoon or fictional characters, like Tony The Tiger and the Milky Bar Kid, should no longer be used to promote unhealthy food."
The above quote was said by a group of MPs concerned about the issue. The suggested ban is part of a list of suggestions that also includes removing sweets from supermarket checkout areas, price promotions on junk food, and brand sponsorship of youth leagues and sports clubs by unhealthy products.
Whether this ban ever takes effect remains to be seen. After all, characters like Toucan Sam, Lucky The Elf, and that infernal tiger have been around since prepackaged breakfast cereals first became popular in the mid-20th century. Although the U.S. was able to rid cartoons like Joe Camel from cigarette promotions about 20 years ago, it’s hard to imagine that Tony The Tiger’s time has finally come.
There are unstately powers trying their best to get the public behind the motive. TV chef Jamie Oliver is on the warpath yet again to make sure kids growing up in the UK don't have overly sugary food available to them.
He's told the UK Health and Social Care Select Committee that the 'future of the NHS' is at stake if the government don't act now to prevent this type of subtle advertising from continuing - and it seems as though MPs agree.
"The Government needs to launch a multi-pronged strategy that pulls every possible lever to help support better outcomes for our kids. In turn, we need to make healthier food cheaper and more easily available for parents. [UK Prime Minister] Theresa May needs to own this now."
Meanwhile, the UK government has “already introduced a sugar tax on fizzy drinks, but the MPs called on it to go further with ‘fiscal measures.’” The Department Of Health “said its plan to tackle childhood obesity was ‘the most ambitious in the world,’” and so far that certainly appears to be true.
Along with the banning of mascots, some of those levers include giving local authorities the power to restrict or prevent advertising unhealthy products near schools, ban junk food ads before 9 pm and prevent sports clubs, tournaments and venues from doing sponsorship deals with companies that sell foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.
It's a complex process but you have to begin somewhere.