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Parents' food fight: The NZ Children's Food Awards

Parents' food fight: The NZ Children's Food Awards

Parents are rebelling against the legions of sickly, fattening, sugar-laden foods aggressively marketed at children, with the launch today of the New Zealand Children's Food Awards.

Green MP Sue Kedgley is giving peeved parents the chance to vent their frustration about overly-coloured, overly-sugared and overly-fattening foods; by nominating their picks of the best and worst children's foods on offer in New Zealand.

At the launch of the awards today, Ms Kedgley was joined by judges including celebrities Allison Roe (health campaigner and former marathon runner) and Alannah Currie (leader of Mothers Against Genetic Engineering). Other judges include representatives from the Parents Centre, Safe Food Campaign, and Maori Women's Welfare League.

Ms Kedgley said today the awards were based on the hugely successful Children's Food Awards in Britain, and were aimed at combating the children's obesity epidemic in New Zealand. "Advertisers bypass parents to target kids at every possible moment, including in schools and pre-schools, during children's television programmes and while kids are waiting for the bus," Ms Kedgley said.

"Research confirms that constant exposure to advertisements pushing unhealthy foods encourages young people to crave food that parents and others want to discourage children from eating.

"Peer pressure and pester power make it increasingly difficult for parents to feed their children well, and that's why parents are fighting back against these sort of pressures. The awards will draw attention to the poor quality of food marketed at children - the high fat, high sugar, low nutrient foods on offer; while also celebrating the healthy alternatives," Ms Kedgley said.

Award categories include Sickly Sweet, Salty Supreme, Chemical Cocktail and GE Genie. "Some of the awards are light-hearted but they all have a serious purpose - to improve the food that is on offer for our children, and to improve and the diet and eating habits of children. We want to turn the tide of the child obesity epidemic in New Zealand," Ms Kedgley said.

Parents have two months to nominate their choices for the best and worst children's food, and the judges will short list foods for each award. Parents will then vote for the winners.

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