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Controls needed on junk food advertising - Greens

15 February 2006

Controls needed on junk food advertising - Greens

Green MP Sue Kedgley is calling for controls on food ads on television, after a new report shows that advertising is promoting an unhealthy diet during children's viewing hours.

Research released today reveals that New Zealand children are watching an average of 12 food advertisements an hour, most of which promote food known to cause obesity, dental decay, and other health problems.

The research by Otago University researchers at the Wellington School of Medicine shows that the number of food advertisements during children's' viewing hours has gone up by 50% since 1997.

"It is crazy that we are allowing our children to be bombarded with advertisements by ruthless marketers for food that we know is unhealthy. These manipulative advertisements are telling children that it is normal and healthy to eat high sugar, high fat, and high salt foods on a regular basis, and encouraging them to pester their parents to buy these products," Green Party Health and Broadcasting Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

"We intervene to protect our children from advertisements promoting smoking or alcohol, because we recognise that these things are unhealthy. Junk food advertisements are no different and we should apply the same standards to them.

"There is no point in trying to tackle the obesity epidemic in this country unless we are prepared to control this boom of unhealthy food advertising.

"The best option would be to follow the lead of Sweden and Norway, where no advertising at all is allowed during children's viewing hours. At the very least, the Government should be moving to urgently impose greater controls on this type of advertising," Ms Kedgley says.


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