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Saving The Junk Food Generation

Consumer NZ
14 March 2008

Consumer NZ Joins Global Day Of Action To Save Junk Food Generation.

15 March is World Consumer Rights Day. The marketing of unhealthy food to children is in the spotlight this year.

To mark the day, Consumer NZ has launched a free interactive lunchbox at www.consumer.org.nz/lunchbox.

The interactive lunchbox lets parents compare the nutritional value of some common lunchbox snacks, such as roll-ups and chippies. This will help parents choose healthier products for their child’s lunchbox.

In addition, Consumer NZ and other consumer organisations around the world are asking the World Health Organisation (WHO) to adopt an international code. The code proposes to restrict the scope and scale of junk food marketing to children around the globe.

Consumer NZ supports restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods across the board – including advertising, sales promotions, sponsorship, pricing, and availability. "We have expressed concern about children being bombarded with sophisticated marketing in the past", says Consumer NZ CEO Sue Chetwin.

"In 2006 we looked at over 200 breakfast cereals, and of the 26 cereals marketed specifically to children we were not able to recommend any – more than half contained a third or more of sugar."

"These cereals (which should be eaten as treats) were also the ones made the most appealing to children through a range of promotional techniques, such as movie promotions, free gifts and competitions," says Ms Chetwin.

Adoption of the international code would be a major step in helping the 117 million children currently threatened by obesity-related diseases. A 2006 report from WHO says there’s evidence that the advertising of food high in fat, sugar and salt has a direct effect on children wanting to eat these foods, which leads to obesity.

New Zealand support for this comes from the 2002 National Children’s Nutrition Survey, which estimated 21 percent of 5- to 14-year-old Kiwi kids were overweight and 10 percent were obese.

There is also public support for restrictions. A recent poll, undertaken on behalf of the Chronic Disease Prevention Peak Group, found that 82 percent of 401 Kiwi parents and grandparents agreed that advertising unhealthy products through ads appealing to children should be stopped.

Consumers International is marking World Consumer Rights Day by launching a new


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