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Teenage campaigner challenges 100-calorie snack advert

Teenage campaigner challenges 100-calorie snack advert
From BBC - January 31, 2018

"The 100-calorie snack benchmark assumes that all children's needs are the same," says Tallulah Self, 18, who has a history of anorexia nervosa.

"It's like saying all cars need the same fuel - and the same amount."

Tallulah is critical of a campaign launched by Public Health England (PHE) in the new year, urging parents to limit children's snacks to 100 calories - and to let them have only two a day.

The campaign is aimed at tackling the growing problem of childhood obesity.

But for Tallulah - who spent six months in hospital in 2016 with anorexia - the Change4Life "Look for 100 calorie snacks" adverts touched a raw nerve.

"As someone with experience of an eating disorder, I was angered by the misleading and potentially harmful message, promoting restriction and calorie-counting.

"I messaged a couple of my friends saying, 'Would it be crazy to make a video about this?' and I gave myself four days to make a film."

Tallulah, who has a BTec in media production, recently got a job in London as a film-maker, having decided not to apply to university currently because of her illness.

She decided to use her skills to make a YouTube video, compiling the views of young people who have had eating disorders, parents and bloggers and vloggers.

The contributors express their concern that the Change4Life campaign could be seen to promote a mindset of dieting and calorie-counting.

Tallulah adds: "The diet culture is unavoidable in the media, but this campaign seems to reflect this diet culture and almost puts it on to the future generation, which I do not think is what we should be teaching them or reinforcing in society."

Change4Life is only trying to tackle childhood obesity, so why is Tallulah critical?

"Of course obesity is an issue," says Tallulah.

"I totally support what Change4Life are doing, I just think they are going about it in a potentially harmful and misleading way.

"Obesity is an issue and needs addressing, but so are eating disorders.

What does the Change4Life campaign say in response?

Where does Tallulah hope to go from here?

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