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UK May Ban Unhealthy Cereal Boxes Featuring Cartoon Characters

Watching television series, especially the animated ones, has been a significant part of our childhood days. We grew up watching Disney movies, Spongebob Squarepants, Tom and Jerry, Tony the Tiger, and others which influenced and shaped our lives.

Our kids (and even some adults) tend to collect merchandise that features their favorite cartoon characters, without knowing whether it will bear a good or bad influence over us. However, this impulsive buying is about to end, especially when it comes to healthy eating since the UK government wants to ban unhealthy foods from featuring cartoon characters that entice kids to buy and eat them.

Fighting Against Obesity

The famous celebrity chef in the UK, Jamie Oliver, declares a war against these manufacturers who take advantage of using cartoon characters to entice kids into buying and eating their unhealthy food products. He wants to make sure that the UK kids won’t grow up having an unhealthy lifestyle full of high saturated fats, sugars and other dangerous elements.

Jamie Oliver recently removed one of his baking tutorial videos that featured a cartoon character promoting unhealthy food from his YouTube account

He claimed food manufacturers use famous cartoon characters like Crackle, Pop, Sam, Snap, and Tony Tiger to promote consuming unhealthy foods. And despite him being a fan of Tony the Tiger, he said he won’t tolerate these animated characters marketing these cereal boxes that contribute to the worsening rate of obesity.

He also noted how the kids nowadays preferred to eat sugary cereals, energy drinks, 2-4-1 pizzas, Turkey Twizzlers, porridge oats, Shreddies, and Weetabix instead of eating healthy fruits and vegetables which are important for the child’s growth and development. Furthermore, Oliver recently submitted evidence to the UK Health and Social Care Select Committee about the effects of using these characters as part of their subtle advertising to the kids.

The Future of NHS at Stake

The Health Committee certainly agrees with Oliver’s claim, stating the future of NHS is at stake if the government won’t take actions to stop this kind of marketing strategy. As of now, the management is still discussing the implementation of preventive measures to ban the use of icons, symbols, or brand characters like in licensed TV or film series to promote foods high in fat, salt, and sugars. Some of the things the government is considering to implement include the restriction of access to unhealthy foods near schools, banning the purchase of junk foods and showing ads before 9 pm, preventing sports clubs, venues, and tournaments from entering into a sponsorship deal with brands and companies that promote unhealthy products.

Oliver urges the government to launch a multi-pronged strategy to save the children from obesity and risks of acquiring chronic diseases at such an early age.

He also emphasized we needed to exert tremendous offers to make healthier food cheaper and more available to the public so that the children won’t be tempted in buying instant foods. According to the studies conducted, more than 22,500 children from ages 10-11 years old in England in Wales are diagnosed as severely obese. Oliver hopes to reverse the figures once the UK government starts banning these unhealthy products.

A Party Pooper

While the public generally lauded Oliver’s good intentions, some people criticized him for his “contradicting stance”. One Twitter user shared a screenshot featuring Oliver’s 2015 video tutorials where he could be seen baking muffins featuring an animated character known as Moshi Monster. The said muffin contained an astounding 33.9 grams of sugar per serving, which is considered unhealthy for children. They criticized Oliver for being contradicting with his principles.

You Can Now Indulge Your Sweet Tooh on Doughnuts Without Spiking Your Blood Sugar

According to the NHS, the recommended sugar intake for children ranging from 7-10 years old is 24 grams. While children aging from 4-6 years old only have to consume less than 19 grams of sugar per day

Meanwhile, Stephen Woodford, the Chief Executive for Advertising Association, stated that these proposed measures to ban the usage of cartoon characters for cereal boxes and other products are ineffective due to the complex root causes of childhood obesity. The rise of obese people is linked to various factors like ethnicity, educational attainment, external environment, and socio-economic background.

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