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NZ: No junk food ads during kid’s TV viewing times – Govt plan

The government has announced a plan to reduce children’s exposure to TV advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks. This includes a new code for children’s food advertising. The code will have a rating system for food advertised during children’s viewing times.

In FOE’s view the arrangements announced by the government are woefully inadequate. For one thing, they only cover “official” children’s viewing zones. These do not include the times when most children are watching TV – in the evening.

In our submission to the Health Select Committee inquiry into obesity we argued that no advertisements for unhealthy foods should be shown on television during the times when programmes intended for those aged 16 and under are being shown, or when a substantial proportion of the viewing audience is likely to be aged 16 and under.

FOE has published an analysis of submissions to the Select Committee inquiry. We found overwhelming support from submissions across the health sector for a strong regulatory approach to junk food advertising. Public health experts pointed out that voluntary agreements had not worked in other areas such as tobacco, and were unlikely to work for food advertising. The regime announced by the government shows their concerns were well justified.

FOE predicts that little of importance will change. Major advertisers will probably shift more to concentrating on selling the brand (turning the young into life-long customers) rather than advertising specific products.

And why stop at TV when increasingly advertisers are moving into other media? The government’s response is little more than a gesture.


Plan to improve TV food advertising to children

Education and Broadcasting Minister, Steve Maharey and Health Minister Pete Hodgson have agreed with major television broadcasters on a new plan aimed at improving food advertising to children aged 5 to 14 years.

The five-point plan involves

  • Free airtime for the next two years for a healthy eating campaign
  • A new code for children’s food advertising
  • Working with SPARC to produce diet and exercise programmes for children
  • Training for advertisers about the classification code
  • Monitoring food advertising over time.

Read more: Press release, NZ Government / Scoop, 3 May 2007

Unhealthy food ads axed from children’s TV

“Ads for unhealthy fizzy drinks and chippies during children’s television programmes are to be axed under a voluntary deal between the Government and broadcasters,” reports the NZ Herald. “Health campaigners say the move won’t achieve what the Government hopes it will – a reduction in child obesity rates – because children do most of their television watching at prime time.”

Read more: NZ Herald, 5 May 2007

TV networks to regulate kids food adverts

The three main TV broadcasters will self-regulate food advertising to children during children’s TV viewing hours (roughly between 7:00 – 8:30 am and 3:15 – 5:00 on weekdays and 7:00 – 9:00 or 10:am on Saturdays).

Only ads that comply with a new advertising classification system will be able to be shown. This system will be aligned with new food and nutrition guidelines that are being introduced into schools. A government consultation group on food advertising will monitor food promotion and how if it changes over time.

Source: NZPA / Stuff, 3 May 2007

Vetting of kid-focussed junk food TV ads too timid

The Green Party welcomes the agreement between major broadcasters and the Government to reduce the advertising of unhealthy food to children.

However, they say that the system must be extended to cover all programmes that children watch, or to cover all programmes that screen before 9 p.m.

This is because a survey by the Broadcasting Standards Authority found that most children watch television outside the 21 hours categorised as children’s television viewing hours by TV2 and the 15 hours categorised as children’s viewing by TV3.

Read more: Press release, Green Party, 3 May 2007

PHA ‘Sceptical’ About TV Food Advertising Plan

The Public Health Association (PHA) is sceptical about changes to TV food advertising announced today. They say that voluntary agreements between advertisers or broadcasters, and the Government, are usually attempts by industry to delay the introduction of regulations. They also query why it is just TV advertising when food is also marketed to children in many other ways.

Read more: Press release, PHA, 3 May 2007

Children likely to watch TV outside Programme Zone

The Obesity Action Coalition believes that the new voluntary code announced today by Minister’s Hodgson and Maharey doesn’t go far enough and is likely to have no effect at all on the food advertising that children actually see on TV.

“According to research carried out in 2005 by the Broadcaster’s Council, real world peak viewing time for children aged 5 – 13 is from 6.30pm – 8.45pm on weekdays and from 6.30pm – 9.00pm on weekends. The zones suggested in the new code finish at 5.30pm during the week on TV2 and 4.30pm on TV3.”

Read more: Press release, Obesity Action Coalition, 3 May 2007

Published on May 5, 2007 in New Zealand news