Media groups pledge £200m of ad space for anti-obesity campaign

LONDON - Some of the UK's biggest media owners and advertisers have pledged £200m worth of ad space to support a Government initiative to fight obesity.

Media join anti-obesity campaign
Media join anti-obesity campaign

Companies including Sky, ITV, Tesco and the RadioCentre have formed a consortium to support the initiative over the four years leading up to the 2012 Olympics in London.

Spearheaded by the Advertising Association and working in partnership with the Government, the campaign will aim to get British people to take more exercise and eat a healthy diet to reduce obesity levels, which have been rising steadily for 60 years.

The financial contribution of the companies involved, which also include AOL UK, the Outdoor Advertising Association, Coca-Cola and Virgin Media Television, will come from advertising and marketing and will sit alongside the Government's £75m contribution to the campaign, announced separately last year.

Alongside traditional advertising, the various health messages will be spread via a series of high profile industry coordinated public events.

In a speech at the Fabian Society this evening (Wednesday), health secretary Alan Johnson will outline the public health implications of the obesity epidemic, and will argue that the strategy to combat obesity will "only succeed if every part of our society recognizes the problem and joins together to take steps to address it".

He will tell society members: "Just as the Government has a moral duty to tackle poverty and exclusion, so it also has a duty to address obesity. But this is not a licence to hector and lecture people on how they should spend their lives - tackling obesity requires a much broader partnership, not only with families, but with employers, retailers, the leisure industry, the media, local government and the voluntary sector."

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