The Department of Health has been accused of “scaremongering” and promoting inaccurate information in its £75m anti-obesity advertising drive, Change4Life.
The Advertising Standards Authority says it has received five complaints about the campaign, created by M&C Saatchi and launched on January 3.
The watchdog says it has received complaints questioning the accuracy of its claim that 90% of children are at risk of obesity, and adds concern has been expressed that the DoH is scaremongering. Other complaints concern “misleading” information, particularly over the assertion that obesity can lead to diabetes/ complainants say that this is the case only for type 2 diabetes, leading to stigma for children with type 1 diabetes.
The campaign, which runs across TV, press, outdoor and online, uses colourful animated figures and has the strapline: “Eat well, move more and live longer”. The DoH has pledged to spend £75m over three years on the marketing push.
Campaign messages include: “If we carry on living as we are, nine out of ten kids are set to grow up with dangerous levels of fat in their bodies. This can cause life-threatening diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease”.
The ASA says it is assessing whether there are grounds for investigation.