Is it finally time to ban junk food advertising? A new bill could improve kids' health
Credit score: Shutterstock

As we speak impartial MP and former GP Sophie Scamps will introduce a invoice into federal parliament that may limit junk meals ads geared toward kids.

The invoice would goal promoting for unhealthy meals Australia’s well being ministers have beforehand outlined, together with sugar-sweetened drinks, confectionary and unhealthy quick meals meals. Promoting for these meals and drinks can be banned on tv, radio and streaming companies from 6am to 9.30pm, and banned altogether on-line and on social media. The proposal highlights one among our largest well being challenges and does one thing about it.

The share of Australian adults who’re obese or overweight has tripled since 1980. As we speak, about 1 / 4 of Australian kids are obese or overweight. The results are severe. Weight problems will increase the danger of a variety of diseases, akin to diabetes, most cancers, and coronary heart illness, setting kids as much as develop persistent illness. The well being care prices of weight problems run into the billions of {dollars} every year, to not point out all of the years of life lived with sickness and incapacity, or misplaced to early loss of life.

This is not the primary time a ban on junk meals promoting has been floated. However there’s extra cause than ever to make it occur.

Why now?

Unhealthy diets are the principle reason behind Australia’s weight problems epidemic, and limiting promoting for unhealthy meals might assist enhance what we eat.

That is why consultants have been calling for promoting restrictions for years. Again in 2009, the Australian Nationwide Preventive Well being Company really useful them, they usually have lengthy been really useful by the World Well being Group. They’re supported by proof that promoting influences kids’s diets and preferences, driving cravings and emotions of starvation.

Even with out this proof, it might be a secure assumption that junk meals promoting works. In any other case, corporations would not spend cash on it, they usually actually do.

One examine discovered Australian promoting on sugary drinks alone prices almost 5 occasions greater than authorities campaigns selling wholesome consuming, bodily exercise and weight problems prevention. And corporations fastidiously design promoting to entice kids. Their methods embody promotional characters, items, and video games and shifting promoting on-line to comply with altering viewing habits.

Most mother and father do not want any persuading to know promoting works, having seen youthful kids make use of “pester energy” and older kids spend their pocket cash on unhealthy choices. That is most likely one cause two thirds of Australians assist bans on junk meals promoting throughout kids’s viewing hours.

What’s taking so lengthy?

So why have not governments acted? When well being our bodies began calling for promoting restrictions almost 15 years in the past, the trade promptly got here up with a plan of its personal. Optionally available codes of conduct had been drawn up for “accountable promoting and advertising to kids”. However there are important loopholes and gaps in these codes, that are voluntary, slim, obscure, and consequence-free.

Predictably, self-regulation hasn’t diminished junk meals promoting to kids. Whereas international locations with obligatory insurance policies have seen junk meals consumption fall, it has elevated in international locations the place the trade units the principles.

Within the meantime, Australia and its kids have been left behind. Since Quebec in Canada launched the primary ban again in 1980, greater than a dozen international locations world wide have adopted and extra are planning to. The proposals being debated in our parliament are modeled on insurance policies adopted in the UK in 2021.

This is not the one space the place Australia has fallen behind with regards to setting smart meals guidelines. We’re not among the many 43 international locations with guidelines to cut back trans-fats, which trigger heart problems, or one of many 85 international locations with a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, that are linked to diabetes.

Our insurance policies to cut back salt consumption and enhance meals labeling are weaker than these in main international locations too.

It is time to make wholesome selections simpler

Unhealthy diets want to enhance, however the easy reply of blaming the person is the fallacious one. Unhealthy meals selections are formed by issues like time pressures, price of dwelling pressures, the supply of recent meals and the advertising adults and kids are continually bombarded with.

That is why governments have to make wholesome selections cheaper, extra handy and extra interesting, in order that they will compete with unhealthy choices. Taking promoting geared toward kids out of the equation can be first step.

Supplied by
The Dialog

This text is republished from The Dialog beneath a Artistic Commons license. Learn the authentic article.The Conversation

Is it lastly time to ban junk meals promoting? A brand new Australian invoice might enhance children’ well being (2023, June 19)
retrieved 19 June 2023

This doc is topic to copyright. Other than any truthful dealing for the aim of personal examine or analysis, no
half could also be reproduced with out the written permission. The content material is offered for data functions solely.

Supply hyperlink