Advertising Restrictions on Junk Food Set to Target Child Obesity

Junk food will no longer by advertised during TV programs when more than 35% of the audience is likely to be children, according to a recent report.
December 5, 2012

Junk food will no longer by advertised during TV programs when more than 35% of the audience is likely to be children, according to a recent report.

The current Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) regulations prevent advertising to audiences of more than 50% children, but the new move is a voluntary one by members of the Responsible Children’s Marketing Initiative including McDonald's, Hungry Jacks, Coca-Cola, Nestle and Mars.

However, a recent study by the University of Sydney and the Cancer Council has found that food ads aimed at children have not slowed. The study considered all advertisements over a five year period across three TV channels and found that there was no change at all in the number of ads that the children were exposed to.

This seems to contrast directly with the findings reported by Cristel Leemhuis of AFGS earlier this year. “Responsible marketing to children is absolutely essential, so we do limit what children see in this area, and the research is very much showing that marketing in those areas decreased dramatically since we implemented that in 2010,” she said.

Whatever the correct statistics, it would seem that the Australian public support a ban on junk food advertising. A recent study by the National Australia University found that more than 75% of Australians support a ban on junk food advertising in children’s television, and almost 20% support a total ban.