How to lower obesity, health inequalities, diabetes & heart disease and save the NHS money – at negligible cost (1 CME Point)

Event Dates:

7:00 pm Monday 2nd Oct 2023

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Fran Bernhardt

Fran Bernhardt is Children’s Food Campaign Coordinator at Sustain. Since 2018, she has advised the Mayor of London’s team on writing and implementing the Healthier Food Advertising policy which restricts unhealthy food and drink advertising from the Transport for London network. This has led to a weekly reduction of 1,000 calories and a 20% reduction in sugary products in London households’ purchases. It is estimated to prevent 100,000 cases of obesity, 3000 cases of diabetes and 2000 cases of heart disease plus it’s expected to deliver a saving of £218 million to London’s NHS over the lifetime of the current population.

She has also supported seven local governments to take it through their own council boards to successfully pass the policy: Haringey, Merton, Southwark, Greenwich, Bristol, Barnsley and Tower Hamlets. There are now more than 100 local governments consulting her for support to do the same across their own advertising sites.


  • What is the healthier food advertising policy?
  • Where has it been implemented?
  • What is the public health impact?
  • What’s happened to advertising revenues?
  • How are companies responding?
  • Industry lobbying
  • What you can do
  • Resources

Learning Outcomes

  • The flood of unhealthy foods and drinks is causing huge costs to public health, the NHS and the economy.
  • The lack of access, availability and affordability of healthy food, plus the flooding of unhealthy food by the food and drinks industry has led to a huge rise in diet-related diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay. Getting food policy right is a massive opportunity therefore not only for preventative medicine, but also lessening climate change, addressing inequalities and contributing meaningfully to the economy.
  • We vastly underestimate the power and influence of industry lobbying which plays a critical role in significantly undermining our health. They are incredibly well resourced, influential, and effective at undermining even the most well-evidenced and robust health and environmental policies.
  • We have an evidence-based, robust policy with great precedent that is proven to have significant health impacts at negligible cost – a no-brainer of a public health intervention – which we could roll out across the country tomorrow. However, industry lobbying and political fear are getting in the way. We need to create better systems for better protecting proven policies from vested interests.
  • Advertising works. If it didn’t companies wouldn’t spend millions on advertising to us. No one is immune from the power of marketing. Question where you are getting your information about food from and who funded them.
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