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Broadcasters Say Ad Ban will not reduce Obesity

New Zealand Television Broadcasters’ Council

MEDIA RELEASE Embargoed until 12 noon

Wednesday 26 July 2006

Television Broadcasters Say Ad Ban will not reduce Obesity

The leading free to air television companies have today told the Health Select Committee enquiry into Obesity that the link between the television advertising of foods, fast food outlets, beverages and sweets and obesity is very small compared to the influence of parents and other societal factors. A ban on such advertising on television is therefore unlikely to have any significant impact on obesity levels.

The New Zealand Television Broadcasters’ Council, representing TVNZ and CanWest TVWorks, told the MPs that free to air broadcasters were working with the Government on its Healthy Eating, Healthy Actions strategy aimed at bringing about real change in obesity levels.

The NZTBC’s executive director, Bruce Wallace, said that for the last ten years no advertising at all had been allowed by the broadcasters in all programmes aimed at under 5 year olds and advertising had been restricted to 10 minutes per hour in school age programming. This amounted to over 2 hours of restricted advertising per day covering TV2 and TV3.

Only 17% of advertising in these programmes for school age children under 14 was for food, sweets and beverages. The most popular advertising products were toys and games.

Mr Wallace accepted that most children also watched television from 6 to 8.30 pm but even then the level of food and beverage advertising had fallen by 12% since 2002. In 2005, it accounted for about 19% of all television advertising during that period.

The NZTBC told the Select Committee that banning food advertising on television would not only be ineffective in curbing obesity but it would also damage the local television production industry and could cause a severe reduction in programmes specially made and screened for children.


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