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Australia: Children’s TV food advertisers exploit rules

Researchers say that current regulations don’t protect Australian children from excessive exposure to advertisements for unhealthy food on television.

Choosing a week in May 2006, they examined the food advertisements on three Sydney commercial TV channels during children’s viewing periods.

Several ads breached the code and others exploited a loophole.

They concluded that the code is too ambiguous: it needs to be clearly defined and better monitored. They also recommended expanding children’s viewing times to reflect the times that children are actually watching television.

Read the letter: Medical Journal of Australia, 1 Jan 2007

FOE COMMENTS

Last year, New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority released two revised codes, the ‘Code for Advertising to Children’ and the ‘Code for Advertising Food’.

In our submission to the Health Select Inquiry into Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in New Zealand, we looked at the changes in the codes that might help reduce childhood obesity.

We found the wording carefully ambiguous and concluded that the advertising industry clearly cannot protect children from harmful advertising through its own efforts. Regulation by government is required.

Published on January 1, 2007 in Australian news