AMA President, Dr Steve Hambleton, said that the AMA supports the intent of the Greens’ Bill to regulate junk food advertising.
Dr Hambleton said that the Bill has succeeded in putting the focus back on the reality that voluntary schemes might work for a while, but there are no guarantees for the long term.
“We can’t leave the health of our children to the whims and decisions of the industry that profits from the sales of junk food,” Dr Hambleton said.
“Government regulation is needed to ensure that vulnerable and impressionable children are not exposed to advertising that promotes high fat, sugar and salt foods.
“This is not a ‘nanny state’ approach to addressing Australia’s alarmingly high rates of overweight and obesity among children. It is a much-needed initiative to help many busy and struggling parents get their kids eating well and staying active.
“We acknowledge that the majority of families are vigilant about a healthy balance of good diet and exercise, but we need to provide a guarantee to families who, for whatever reasons, allow their children to be exposed to excessive amounts of junk food and inactivity.
“Flash advertising, especially in peak children’s television viewing times, is a major contributor to unhealthy junk food choices.
“The advertising of junk food and beverages is leading to over-consumption of products that are at the core of the obesity epidemic affecting Australian kids and teenagers.
“Advertising unhealthy food to children can undermine the healthy eating messages that children get at school and from their parents.
“Children do not have the capacity to understand or resist the influence of advertising, so they will constantly ‘pester’ their parents for the food and beverage products they have seen advertised on television.
“Food companies have a very strong motive to continue to use this form of advertising. They know it works.
“The AMA would welcome a junk food advertising Bill that has the support of all MPs and Senators.”
(Source: Australian Medical Association)
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