The Government is planning to restrict the exposure of children to the advertising of unhealthy food.
When I asked the minister why children from the lowest income groups are disproportionately amongst the fattest, and suggested that it wasn’t because they watched more adverts, he replied that he thought it might be.
I do not dispute that advertising may have some impact at the very margin, but children have always been the target of advertising for confectionery. I recall the Milky Bar kid whose sales pitch was that the Milky Bars were on him, a statement that would be unlikely to get past modern advertising standards.
The real difference is that so many children do so much less exercise than we did in the past.
One in five children starts primary school already too fat, but we will have that child in full-time compulsory education for 13 years, for 35 weeks per year, for 7 hours per day: the lack of productivity is staggering if we cannot organise their day so as to ensure that they come out thinner than they arrived.
If we lack the political will to make schools the engine of a healthier lifestyle, I doubt that advertising bans will ever make up for it.