A new consultation, from Department of Health and Social Care and Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, has been launched on proposals to ban online adverts for foods high in fat, sugar and salt in the UK to tackle the obesity crisis and get the nation fit and healthy.

  • Proposal to ban online adverts promoting food high in fat, sugar and salt.
  • Ban would help protect children from developing long-term unhealthy eating habits.
  • Part of government’s landmark obesity strategy to help everyone live healthier lives.

Research shows children are exposed to over 15 billion adverts for products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) online every year.

Evidence shows that exposure to HFSS advertising can affect what children eat and when they eat, both in the short term by increasing the amount of food children eat immediately after being exposed to an advert, and by shaping longer-term food preferences from a young age.

The new consultation, which will run for 6 weeks, will gather views from the public and industry stakeholders to understand the impact and challenges of introducing a total ban on the advertising of these products online, to help people live healthier lives and tackle childhood obesity.

The Department of Health and Social Care 12-week consultation asks if there should be more restrictions on how retailers promote food and drink that is high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS).

The government is proposing new rules to restrict retailers using promotions thought to cause excessive consumption of HFSS food and drink by children.

The consultation asks people to give their views on:

  1. restricting multibuy promotions of HFSS products, such as ‘buy one, get one free’
  2. restricting promotions of HFSS products at checkouts, end of aisles and store entrances

This consultation also seeks views on:

  • which businesses, products and types of promotions should be included in the restrictions
  • definitions for HFSS products, price promotions and locations in stores
  • how businesses can put this into practice and whether they will face any difficulties.

The consultation is part of chapter 2 of the government’s childhood obesity plan. It will seek views from the public and industry on the potential measures, alongside whether exemptions should be made for small businesses so they are not penalised by the rules.

iHV response to consultation

We are submitting a response from the iHV and would like to include the voices of health visitors, including our members, Champions and Fellows.

Collective professional response:

We are pulling together a collective professional response via the iHV. Please email your comments for the collective professional response to [email protected] by 22 March 2019 so that we can collate all comments, as the consultation closes at 11.59pm on Saturday 6 April 2019.

For Individual/organisational responses:

If you would like to respond individually or as an organisation, please go to the Open Consultation that can be found hereComments for the consultation to be received no later than 11.59pm on Saturday 6 April 2019

We look forward to receiving your responses – and, hopefully, together we can make the HV voice be heard.



For Salt Awareness Week 2017 (Monday 20 March – Sunday 26 March 2017), the Consensus Action on Salt & Health (CASH) has issued a press release and survey, which used their smartphone app ‘Foodswitch’ to look at the salt levels in shopping baskets of everyday items sold in UK supermarkets.

Looking at 28 food items, each representing a different category within the 2017 salt reduction targets, CASH found a huge variation in salt levels, with most categories still not meeting the targets, and are calling for more action from manufacturers and Public Health England if we are to reduce our salt intakes to below 6g a day.

The newly updated FoodSwitch app is now available to download – from either iTunes or Google Play – see links below.  Using this app, you can scan in the barcode of your food and drink, see the colour coded label for that item, and see healthier choices.  Shoppers are encouraged to do give it a go and give CASH your feedback, if you can.

Dr Cheryll Adams CBE, executive director iHV, said:

“HVs are well-placed to start to educate parents on the dangers of salt and the amount found in foodstuffs, but are often stretched by time constraints as they have so many important public health messages to share.  Being able to point parents to an app will be very helpful.”