Select Committee on Health Minutes of Evidence


Supplementary memorandum by The Food Commission (OB 27A)

  In July 2003, the Food Commission published a report on children's food marketing and its relationship to patterns of disease around the world, entitled Broadcasting Bad Health: Why food marketing to children needs to be controlled. The report makes several references to marketing in schools, including commercial activities in US and UK schools. I attach relevant excerpts for the Committee's consideration as written evidence[23]. A copy of the full report is available on request from kath@foodcomm.org.uk.

  In summary, the Food Commission is concerned that whilst several admirable initiatives are underway in schools to promote healthy eating and healthy lifestyles (either through curricular or extra-curricular activities), these are undermined by unhealthy food marketing targeted at schoolchildren, including:

—  Fatty and sugary foods and drinks sold in vending machines;

—  Commercially sponsored educational materials, giving skewed or partial information about nutrition and health (usually for fatty and sugary snack products);

—  Commercial websites promoted as "educational", giving skewed or partial information about nutrition and health (usually for fatty and sugary snack products);

—  Free exercise books given to primary and secondary schools, carrying advertising for sugared drinks and fatty snacks;

—  Commercial snack tasting programmes in schools, with children as young as four years old;

—  Free gifts sent to schools (including fatty and sugary snack products), sometimes as a result of sponsorship of healthy eating promotions such as breakfast clubs; and

—  Token collection schemes—notably Walkers Crisps Books for Schools (ongoing) and Cadbury's Get Active Free Sports Kit 4 Schools scheme (launched 2003).

August 2003






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