Published date: 
1 Sep 2011

Press Statement by Senator Jillian van Turnhout, Chief Executive

“The Children’s Rights Alliance is committed to slashing the levels of obesity in Ireland, having most recently awarded the last Government an ‘E’ grade for its policy implementation in the area of childhood obesity in January.  This is not a new issue for the Alliance, having also called for a junk food advertising ban in its Second Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in 2006.  In recent years, the Alliance has joined forces with the Consumers’ Association of Ireland (CAI) to call for a ban on junk food advertising before the 9pm watershed.  It is our intention to reiterate these calls in our submission to the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s (BAI) consultation on the Children’s Commercial Communications Code, launched on Tuesday 30 August – and as a first step towards a total ban on the advertising of junk food to children. 

“Putting the health of children ahead of commercial interests and the food and advertising industries is the only way forward, if we are to reverse the increasing levels of childhood obesity.  Consultation with children’s organisations and consumer organisations is crucial in this regard.  Voluntary codes do not work and we will be calling for a ban on the advertising of junk food before the 9pm watershed, as part of a wider strategy to tackle the growing levels of childhood obesity in Ireland.  This ban would be a first step towards a total ban on the advertising of junk food to children.  Let’s reduce the weight of junk food advertising on children and the pressure on our health services. 

“As it is widely held that the media is one of the most important vehicles for influencing consumers in relation to food selection and health behaviours, the Alliance believes one of the key solutions to child obesity is to restrict the advertising of unhealthy foods in Ireland.  Let us not forget that there has been a 500% increase in obesity among Irish boys in the last four years, and that this is the first generation of children growing up in Ireland whose life expectancy may be shorter than that of their parents.

“Let’s stop the waste now.”

Senator Jillian van Turnhout
Chief Executive


Carys Thomas, Communications Director
Children’s Rights Alliance
Tel: (01) 662 9400 / 0877702845

  • Notes to Editor:
    • The Second Shadow Report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, ‘From Rhetoric to Rights’, can be found here (relevant section p.51):
    • The Report Card 2011 can be found here (relevant section pp. 33-35):
    • A full briefing on the Alliance’s position on junk food advertising was developed in March 2009.  See:
    • The joint 2009 CAI and Alliance press release can be found here:
    • The Alliance joined forces with the CAI as part of the global campaign, ‘Junk Food Generation’, co-ordinated by Consumers International, in 2009.  Unhealthy diets are a major cause of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers, which are on the rise particularly in low and middle-income countries.  These preventable diseases come at a massive cost to human life and cripple the health service.  About 22 million children around the world, under the age of five, are already overweight or obese. 


Children's Rights Alliance