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Ban junk food advertising near schools, say councils

Junk food advertising near schools and nurseries should be banned, councils have urged.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils - with responsibility for public health - says the move would reduce children's exposure to unhealthy food and drinks high in salt, fat and sugar, said to be a key driver behind child obesity.

This comes after a recent study by the University of Stirling found three quarters of all food and drink marketing seen by the 2,285 11 to 18-year-olds that they questioned was for unhealthy food.

However, councils don't currently have the power to do this, and are calling on government to change that.

Richard Kemp, deputy chair of the LGA Community Wellbeing Board, said: “We are not saying every council should be using these powers, but it gives local authorities the option of working with parents and schools to ban junk food advertising near schools, nurseries and children centres, if they feel it can make a difference and improve children's health in their town or city.

“It is not right when we are trying to educate children around the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, that at the same time they are subjected to a bombardment of junk food advertising.”

If the government granted councils these powers, they would have the freedom to control the advertising of junk food and sugary drinks if they felt it was an issue that needed tackling in their area.