I care a great deal about this issue as a former Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Obesity. I have worked closely with the Obesity Health Alliance for many years and will work to bring back these important changes which have been needed for a very long time.
Childhood obesity is one of the biggest health problems this nation faces, with one in every three children in England leaving primary school overweight or living with obesity. Obesity is associated with reduced life expectancy, and it is a risk factor for a range of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, at least 12 types of cancer, liver, and respiratory disease.
As you might be aware, in 2018, the Government set the ambition to halve childhood obesity by 2030 and help adults reach a healthier weight.
I am therefore delighted that the Government has taken action to tackle this important issue and will implement a UK-wide pre-9pm ban on TV and UK-On Demand Programme Services advertising food high in sugar, salt and fat. It was interesting to note that the Obesity Health Alliance reported that 74 per cent of the UK public supported the idea of a TV watershed and online ban on less healthy food and drink marketing. Furthermore, 9 in 10 parents taking part in Children's Food Campaign's Parents' Jury backed a TV watershed on junk food marketing.
The Health and Care Act 2022 introduced the 9pm advertising ban and the policies are due to come into effect on 1 January 2024. The measures had been intended to come into effect in 2023 but, due to a delay to the Health and Care Bill receiving Royal Assent, as well as a growing recognition that the industry needs more time to prepare, they have been postponed by a year.
Furthermore, the Government intends to consult on TV and paid-for-adverts in the coming weeks.
More broadly, COVID-19 has brought the dangers of obesity into sharp focus and highlighted that as a country we need to address the risks obesity presents. I am delighted with the measures put forward which I am confident will help support a fitter, healthier nation, making us more resilient to diseases in the future.