The Department of Heath has defended its new Change4Life campaign ad to MCV – and declined to apologise for the potentially damaging parallels the promotion draws between playing games and premature death.
The Department told MCV this morning that the Government "wasn’t saying children shouldn’t play computer games".
MCV has complained to the Advertising Standards Authority over the ad, which was created in association with The British Heart Foundation, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research. ELSPA has also criticised the promotion.
A Department OF Heath spokesperson told MCV:
"The campaign takes a direct approach, setting out the issue in succinctly and in straightforward language. An unhealthy lifestyle, including poor diet or being inactive, can lead to health problems in later life.
"If current trends continue, nine in ten people will be overweight or obese by 2050. This can increase your risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.
"We are not saying that children shouldn’t play computer games or eat treats, but parents and children need to be aware of the benefits of a balanced diet and an active lifestyle. The activities portrayed are examples of poor diet and lack of physical activity."