YP Comment: The Health Police

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EVEN though Theresa May’s Government decided not to ban junk food advertisements from the nation’s television screens before 9pm each night, it has not stopped the World Medical Association from recommending even more stringent controls.

Its global health leaders want promotions for fizzy drinks, burgers and so on banned from all programmes which are appealing to children. Does this mean pre-recorded shows have to be submitted to a special committee? What about soap operas where the storylines gravitate around pubs like The Woolpack in Emmerdale? What about top sporting events where a pitchside sponsor is a popular food or beverage brand? Are they banned?

The questions go on – how will the WMA monitor those social networks, video games and websites which youngsters access from their own mobile devices?

It should not be down to the so-called ‘nanny state’ to rule family lives in this way. It should be up to parents to accept responsibility for the upbringing of their children and not to succumb so liberally to ‘pester power’ when their offspring are looking for a bribe, or such like, in return for good behaviour.

Governments simply can’t micro-manage the upbringing of every child. Instead of hectoring, they should be looking to provide constructive guidance while coming up with creative campaigns to promote the benefits of a balanced diet and regular exercise. Rather than this draconianism, have the ‘health police’ even asked the producers of the omnipresent soaps to develop uplifting storylines around healthy living rather than the usual staple diet of death and human misery?