Letter to Herald Sun: Junk food ads should be banned on all shows watched by kids

Friday 18 July, 2008


It's shameful that TV networks place revenue interests before the health and welfare of children. When tobacco advertising was banned, any loss in advertising revenue was almost immediately replaced by other advertising. 

It's also ignorant to assume that children's shows like Hi-5 will immediately disappear off the screens. There is plenty of money being made through licensing of products here and overseas and DVD sales to not be concerned about income from junk food advertising. How much income do they need?

Broadcasters have a regulatory and public responsibility to provide children's programs and it is reasonable for broadcasters to incur some cost in doing so.

Food companies who wish to take advantage of a young receptive audience and who deny the link between junk food advertising and childhood obesity are mistaken. 

Australia has one of the highest rates of food advertising to children in the world, and most of this is for unhealthy food.   Vast evidence does, in fact, show this advertising influences the types of foods kids pester their parents to buy and ultimately eat. Children lack the cognitive capacity to understand the commercial intent of advertising or to resist its influence, and because it's everywhere, their desire for junk food is constantly stimulated.

Junk food ads should not only be banned during children's shows but also between 5.30pm and 9.30pm when children are most likely to watch television. 

Craig Sinclair
Director of Cancer Education
The Cancer Council Victoria