London Transit Bans Unhealthy Food Ads

For many years, it seemed that the human race was facing a plague of obesity and there wasn’t much we could do about it. However, in recent years things have changed. On average, people are eating healthier. Fast food chains are eliminating preservatives and have become completely transparent when it comes to the nutritional value of their products. It’s not just companies in the food business that are trying to turn the tide of the obesity war. Governments are becoming involved, too.

Take London, for example.

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced early in December that by the end of February 2019 public transportation vehicles will no longer advertise unhealthy food. Up to now, taxis, buses, trams, and trains have been plastered with ads depicting foods high in fat, salt, and sugar. Everything from cheeseburgers to chocolate bars has been a part of the daily commute in London, but Mayor Khan is bringing those days to an end.

Khan’s decision is part of his war on childhood obesity—something that is not just a plague in London, but in most developed metropolitan areas throughout the world. The move is thought to not only be good for the overall health of the people but also the health service industry that has to treat illnesses related to poor eating habits. Research shows that when it comes to children who are 11 and 12 years old, nearly 40 percent are considered overweight or obese.

The mayor is banking on the theory that if children aren’t exposed to as many junk food advertisements, the frequency by which they consume those unhealthy foods will be reduced. If the theory proves true, it could have a pretty widespread effect. Nearly 3 million people use the London public transit each day, so any changes to advertisements have the potential to be huge. What’s more, it seems that the public that uses the transit system each day is, by and large, very supportive. So far, about 82 percent of the users support Mayor Khan’s plan.

Most people believe that it’s going to take more than an advertisement ban to really turn the tide when it comes to society’s eating habits. However, it’s a good first step, and positive results could help drive future, more aggressive steps in the fight on obesity.