Diabetes UK joins fights against junk food advertising

Diabetes UK has joined Which? and a range of other charities and organizations, to write to Ofcom demanding a 9pm watershed on television advertising of unhealthy food to children.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said "We should not be putting our children's future health at risk for the sake of advertising revenues.  Being overweight greatly increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and amputations. A sensible approach to junk food advertising is one area where a real difference can be made.  The range of organizations who have signed this letter reflects the overwhelming public support for the 9pm watershed."

Rising levels of obesity in children due to poor diet and lack of physical activity have led to children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, once a condition of the over 40s. This could mean that this generation of children could be the first to suffer a drop in life expectancy as the combination of diabetes and childhood obesity will increase risk of ill health and premature death in adult life.

According to figures recently published by the Department of Health in its 'Forecasting Obesity to 2010' report more than 12 million adults and one million children in England will be obese by 2010.  Although Type 2 diabetes was virtually unheard of in children 10 years ago, it is now estimated that well over a 1000 children have the condition.

ENDS
If you would like more information please contact Fabienne Jacquet on 0207 424 1161 or for urgent out of hours media enquiries call 07711 176028.

Notes to editor

1. Diabetes UK is the charity for people with diabetes. With approximately 170,000 members we are the largest patient body in Europe and one of the largest funders of diabetes research in the UK.

2. There are 2.1 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK and there an estimated 750,000 people who have the condition without realising.

3. The following organisations have put their name to the letter asking the Ofcom board for a 9pm watershed on TV advertising of unhealthy food to children:British Heart Foundation, British Medical Association, Cancer Research UK, Diabetes UK, Health Promotion Agency for Northern Ireland, Medical Research Council Human Nutrition Research, Mums4, National Consumer Council, the National Children's Bureau, National Family and Parenting Institute, the National Federation of Women's Institutes, the National Heart Forum, National Oral Health Promotion Group, National Union of Teachers, the National Youth Agency, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, Parentlineplus, the Scottish Consumer Council, Sustain, Trading Standards Institute, UK Public Health Association, Unison, Unison Scotland and the Welsh Consumer Council.

4. Membership of Diabetes UK is £22 a year with reductions available. In addition to our bi-monthly magazine Balance, members receive support and the latest information on diabetes care and treatments to help them live a healthy life

5. Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly.

6. Diabetes is a serious condition, which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and nerve damage that can cause amputation

Fabienne Jacquet
Press Officer
Diabetes UK
020 7424 1161
fabienne.jacquet@diabetes.org.uk

Over 750,000 people in the UK currently have diabetes but don't know it.
Take the Measure Up 2 minute test to see if you are at risk: www.diabetes.org.uk/MeasureUp

Diabetes UK (the operating name of The British Diabetic Association, company limited by guarantee). Registered company number 00339181. Registered charity number 215199. Registered address Macleod House, 10 Parkway, London NW1 7AA.

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