Bishop of Gloucester asks about the effects of advertising on mental health and body image

The Bishop of Gloucester asked the following question on 30th June 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester asked Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of any link between advertising, body image, and mental health.

Lord Kamall (Con): The Government acknowledge the possible link between advertising, body image and mental health, including the potential harms that such a link may cause. The Government intend to use the online advertising programme consultation, which closed on 8 June, to develop the evidence base on this issue. Our priority is to ensure that any intervention is evidence-based and makes a real and positive difference. The Government will set out the exact approach having assessed the evidence.

The Lord Bishop of Gloucester: My Lords, with my #liedentity campaign, I have spoken to many young people about their worth not coming from how they look. In the other place, the Prime Minister assured the honourable Member for Bosworth, Dr Luke Evans, that he would look at a body image initiative as part of the mental health plan. Given that Norway has recently introduced a retouched images law, what assessment have the Government made of the potential merits of labelling digitally altered body images used for commercial purposes?

Lord Kamall (Con): I pay tribute to the right reverend Prelate and the campaign in which she has been involved. It is an important issue, and we are still learning a lot. As she rightly said, Norway is about to introduce such a law; France and Israel have introduced it in the past. Sadly, the evidence coming from those studies as to the effectiveness of the measures is limited. There is also a debate about whether those images should be stopped in the first place, rather than allowing altered images and then putting a warning on them. We need to see more evidence about the most effective way.


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