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GMTV sells out to McDonald's

10th June 2002

There is a growing body of evidence to show that UK children are suffering the effects of a diet of poor quality food loaded with fat, salt and sugar. Some of the more serious outcomes are obesity, early onset diabetes and, in later life, diet-related heart disease and diet-related cancers.

The Food Commission is appalled to hear that GMTV has accepted a sponsorship deal with McDonald's to the tune of 1 million for its cartoon slot on Saturday and Sunday mornings. GMTV is helping to target junk food at three to eight-year-old children, who already eat too much fat, salt and sugar.

A child in the age range that GMTV's Diggit programme is aimed at (3 to 8-year-olds), eating a McDonald's birthday party meal, choosing one cheeseburger, regular French fries (with tomato ketchup), a regular Coke and a slice of birthday cake would consume 889 kcalories; 81g of sugars; 27.7g of fat (of which 11.5g saturated fat) and 1.6g of sodium (equivalent to 4g of salt).

For a child aged 4 to 6, this would be 60% of the maximum total recommended daily intake of saturated fat; 79% more sugar than the maximum total recommended daily intake; and 128% more salt than the dietary reference value established by the government's Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy (COMA).

For a child aged 7 to 10, this would be 53% of the maximum total recommended daily intake of saturated fat; 58% more sugar than the maximum total recommended daily intake; and 33% more salt than the dietary reference value established by COMA.

Recognising the effects of a bad diet on the health of the nation's children, over 70 organisations have signed up in support of a call for a ban on the advertising of fatty, salty and sugary foods during children's TV viewing time (see: www.sustainweb.org/labell_index.shtm).

The Food Commission calls upon GMTV to take more responsibility for its effect upon children's diets and health by pulling out of this sponsorship deal with McDonald's, and by refusing to promote fatty, salty and sugary foods during children's television viewing time. Currently, these foods dominate the children's ad breaks.

For further information

The Food Commission has launched a Parents Jury to let parents have their say about foods and drinks marketed to children. If you are a mum or dad with a child or children between 2 and 16 years old, get in touch and we'll send you more information.

Write to: The Parents Jury, 94 White Lion Street, London N1 9PF.
Email: parentsjury@foodcomm.org.uk

Tel: 020 7837 2250; fax: 020 7837 1141.

The following pages may also be of interest

  • Campaigns: Parents Jury
    The Parents Jury was an independent jury of over 1,300 parents who came together to improve the quality of children's foods and drinks in the UK. The Jury was co-ordinated by The Food Commission.