Thursday, 2 February 2023

Public health comic investigates the Beano

There's a laughable investigation into the Beano's website, of all things, in the British Medical Journal today. The Beano has responded, saying that the authors had chosen “to cite selective examples out of context”.

If you're familiar with the world of 'public health' academia, this will be enough of a clue for you to guess that Mark Petticrew is one of the authors, and you would be right.

I've written about  it for the Spectator

One of the regular characters in Viz is an old woman called Meddlesome Ratbag who goes to great lengths to engineer situations in which she can be offended so she can complain to the authorities. I was reminded of her this morning when I read the British Medical Journal‘s investigation into the Beano. Yes, you did read that correctly. One of the world’s leading medical journals has been devoting its attention to a children’s comic.

It turns out the Beano has a popular website that has been visited by nearly 48 million kids since its launch in 2016, according to the investigators. It stands accused of mentioning the brand names of various sweets, treats and fast food companies. These products are not advertised on the website and no money has changed hands. The owners of the comic have clarified that on occasions when they work with companies, this is ‘always clearly marked’ on their website and ‘would never include’ brands deemed by the government to be ‘high in fat, sugar or salt’ (HFSS).

The Beano is nevertheless accused on ‘exposing children to HFSS content’ by acknowledging the existence of the likes of Skittles and Greggs. In an overwrought editorial accompanying the investigation, the BMJ says:

Todays innocent fun” is tomorrows health crisis.

Read the rest here.

No comments: