Sir, The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect, not only on people’s health now, but on their future health prospects too, with many forced into poverty.
Emerging evidence shows that nutritional deficiencies, obesity and related health conditions, which are strongly linked to social deprivation, could be risk factors for worse outcomes of Covid-19.
There is comprehensive evidence showing the harmful effect of unhealthy food and drink advertising. During lockdown, certain food companies have been heavily promoting unhealthy food, even to the most vulnerable members of society, who are now a captive audience with little opportunity to leave the house or to get much exercise.
Earlier this month, the UK’s biggest betting and gaming companies showed some degree of moral fibre by agreeing to stop advertising their products on both TV and radio during the lockdown, in a bid to reduce exposure to those at risk of addiction.
In this spirit, Action on Sugar and Action on Salt are calling for the British food and drink industry to unite in the interests of public health and, through a voluntary ‘moratorium’, remove all forms of unhealthy advertising across all media platforms until 5 June - or until all lockdown restrictions have been lifted. Brands that can afford to advertise generally have a wider portfolio of products, including those that are considered healthy, which could remain.
Katharine Jenner, campaign director, Action on Sugar and Action on Salt