Hackney Youth Debate considers Mayor's proposal to restrict junk food ads
Secondary schoolchildren from Hackney took part in a debate on junk food adverts on tubes, buses and Overground trains across the Transport for London (TfL) network in June at Clapton Girls Academy, which was followed by a vote on the Mayor's proposed ban.
The ‘Question Time’ debate was organised by SUGAR SMART Hackney to provide feedback on behalf of the borough campaign for the Mayor of London’s public consultation about the proposed ban on junk food advertising on the TfL network.
The Mayor of Hackney Philip Glanville joined the panel alongside representatives from the Mayor of London’s Food Policy Team and the Council’s Public Health team looking at whether banning junk food ads can and should be used as a tool to tackle obesity in children.
Students from Clapton Girls Academy, The Urswick School, Skinners Academy and Cardinal Pole Catholic School took part in the debate, followed by an audience vote on whether to pass or reject the motion.
The event also screened Where the Lies Are: a short film about food advertising, made by young people in the borough. The film was created as part of community project Cordwainers Grow. Young people looked at ‘false’ and ‘misleading adverts’ for unhealthy food in the media and on the high street which targets children to make unhealthy food choices.
Childhood obesity is often tackled by initiatives focused on healthy eating, including choosing food and drink that is low in sugar and fat, but Thursday’s debate looked at the impact on young people surrounded by advertising for junk food which is high in fat, sugar and salt.
Following the event, the Council is looking at additional measures to restrict advertising and promotion of junk food across Hackney. The Council is also calling on young people, schools, parents and communities to get involved in its work to tackle obesity in Hackney. In Hackney the number of children who are overweight and obese at the age of 4 to 5-years-old and from 10 to 11-years-old is significantly higher than the national average. Obesity is also more common within some ethnic minority groups and people living in social deprivation.
SUGAR SMART Hackney is a joint initiative of Hackney Food Partnership and Hackney Council to reduce excessive sugar consumption in Hackney. It was jointly funded by Sustainable Food Cities and Hackney Public Health. Action on sugar is needed as consuming too much sugary foods and drinks leads to tooth decay, obesity and Type II Diabetes.
SUGAR SMART is a campaign run by the charity Sustain. SUGAR SMART is one of the featured campaigns in the UK's Sustainable Food Cities Network.