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Luton Council restricts advertising of unhealthy food & drink

28 Aug 2023
Luton is the first local authority in the East of England and among the first ten councils across the country to adopt a healthy food and drink advertising policy.

The Luton Healthier Food and Drink Advertising policy which will restrict the advertising of products that are high in fact, salt or sugar (HFSS) on all council-owned assets to help protect children and adults. HFSS products include foods such as chocolate, confectionary, cakes, biscuits, puddings, savoury snacks, fried foods and sugar sweetened drinks.

Councillor Khtija Malik, portfolio holder for public health, said: “The consequences of consuming these type of products are severe, especially in children, and can include increased risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease.

“Therefore to protect children and adults, we must do what we can to reduce their exposure to unhealthy food and drinks advertising. The Luton Healthier Food and Drink Advertising Policy will contribute to the council’s 2040 vision to improve the health outcomes for our residents.”

The latest data from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) indicate that in Luton 11.4% of reception age children (4-5 years-old) and 29.2% of children at age 10-11years-old (year 6) were obese compared to national rates of 10.1% and 23.4% respectively.

Fran Bernhardt, children’s food campaign coordinator at Sustain, added: “We're delighted to have worked with Luton Council on this policy. At a time when our national Government is repeatedly failing children and adults by stalling on important health measures, Luton Council has stood up to the food and drinks industry on behalf of all their residents.

“We know that those living in the most deprived areas are most affected by unhealthy food advertising, and most at risk from diet related diseases. So by removing the spotlight from unhealthy foods, Luton is supporting their local area to level up. Huge congratulations to Luton! You will inspire many others to follow suit.”