Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, wants to ban fast food adverts from the escalators on the Underground, because 40% of children in the capital are overweight or obese. Apparently, the proportion of overweight children is highest in deprived areas, and lower in more affluent areas. Presumably poorer children are less likely to travel in taxis, and more likely to use public transport, and so are being influenced by the adverts on the Tube.
Things have changed since I was a child. We were poor, but I was skinny. When I went with my father to the local boating lake, my boat was just a piece of wood with a couple of nails in it, to represent masts. My father pointed out that the children who had the best boats were the fat ones, because their parents bought them lots of sweets. I have no idea whether my father’s analysis was correct, but I spent an entire week trying to look fat, so that my parents would buy me lots of sweets, and maybe a better boat. It didn’t work.
The adverts on the escalators have also changed. When I was a child, they were mostly for women’s underwear. I looked at all of them, avidly, but I still wasn’t tempted to give cross dressing a try, which suggests that Sadiq Khan’s attempt to tackle childhood obesity by replacing the McDonald’s adverts with pictures of lettuces is about as likely to succeed as my attempts to look fat. Hey ho.