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In a briefing on the obesity strategy announced by the government today (see 9.14am and 9.54am), the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the tax and spending thinktank, says the government’s plan for a ban on TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm might only have a limited impact. The IFS says:
It is unlikely that extending advertising restrictions would lead to such a large reduction in the amount of advertising for unhealthy food and drinks that people actually see. This is because firms could increase their advertising of these products after the watershed or on other types of media.
Research has shown that this happened before. Following the introduction of the 2007 ban on advertising food and drink products that are high in fat, sugar or salt during children’s television, restricted adverts were shifted from children’s television to unrestricted non-children’s television.
The Office for National Statistics has announced that its Covid-19 infection survey is going to be extended to cover Northern Ireland. The survey tracks the incidence of coronavirus not by counting the number of people who fall ill and test positive, but by sending out testing kits by a representative sample of people picked randomly, which means it picks up asymptomatic cases as well as symptomatic cases.
The Northern Ireland health minister, Robin Swann, said:
I very much welcome the fact that the Covid-19 infection survey is being rolled out to Northern Ireland. The research will complement studies already underway into antibody seroprevalence in different population groups.
The more we know and understand about Covid -19, the better equipped we will be to deal with it.