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Food advert guidelines for children mean little, say critics


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http://www.nzherald.co.nz/search/story. ... 027AF1010B

Food advert guidelines for children mean little, say critics


By Errol Kiong

Tougher guidelines that dictate how unhealthy foods can be marketed to children have been dismissed by critics as the industry's attempt to stave off regulation.

The Advertising Standards Authority unveiled additional measures yesterday to its voluntary codes governing the advertising of food. They include not aiming adverts at younger children, a definition of "treat food" and not encouraging children to eat or drink these foods in excess. Ads must also comply with the Ministry of Health's food and nutrition guidelines for children.

Celebrities cannot be used to "undermine" healthy diets. Advertisers have a three-month transition period to comply.

But critics say the wording leaves plenty open to interpretation.

Endocrinologist Dr Robyn Toomath, of Fight the Obesity Epidemic, said the interpretation of the guidelines at the moment was "loose and sloppy".

"If they truly follow the intent, which is protecting children and not doing anything to adversely affect their health, then all of the junk food advertising, all of the advertising for soft drinks, would immediately be removed."

Green Party food safety spokeswoman Sue Kedgley said the reviews were an attempt to stave off regulation "by coming up with codes that look and sound quite good, but are general and waffly and don't change a lot".

"It is not enough to just suggest, as the review does, that advertisers not promote excessive consumption of treat or unhealthy food. It is widely recognised that the advertising of unhealthy food to children is a significant contributor to the present obesity epidemic. If we want to improve the health of our kids then we must tackle this issue head on with tough rules that prevent companies from targeting children and encouraging them to eat unhealthy food."

But Health Minister Pete Hodgson welcomed the changes.

"This is a step in the right direction, though it's clear that we all need to be doing more to stop the obesity epidemic, which may see our children dying before we do."

What do you think? Are these voluntary guidelines enough, or do we need government regulations on how advertisers can market unhealthy foods?

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The whole idea of the regime restricting unhealthy foods is absurd, since their definition of unhealthy foods is always going to be a pack of lies to support prevailing economic interests. If they wanted people to be healthy then they would advise them not to eat agricultural foods like potatoes, rice, grains, milk and processed foods based of these. They're never going to do that and arguably they are right not to, as the global economy would not function if people avoided such foods. As to celebrity endorsements, if anyone of any age is stupid enough to accept the word of paid shills just because they are "celebrities" then their being killed off represents a desirable form of Social Darwinism.

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if anyone of any age is stupid enough to accept the word of paid shills just because they are "celebrities" then their being killed off represents a desirable form of Social Darwinism.

Haha! Touche! :pfft:

But let's clarify this... There's no suggestion that we clamp down on the consumer - their right to choose what they buy is unchanged. The suggestion is that we clamp down on the advertiser instead, that we say, "Hey, we dont want people enticing our kids to eat unhealthy food."

I think the problem is that many people simply don't have a clue when it comes to nutrition. When they're faced with a choice between Weet-Bix (looks like sawdust, tastes like sawdust) or Fruity-Rings ("CONTAINS 5% NATURAL FRUIT!!!!") they see the two products as equals. But little Johhny starts pestering because he's seen the cool Fruity-Rings ad on TV (which targets him, not Mum, of course). Suddenly the decision is easy - after all, fruit is good for you, isn't it? :?

I imagine most would agree that alcohol adverts should't be targeted at children. Why are other unhealthy foods different?

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