Advertisers Deny Link Between Food Adverts and Childhood Obesity

by VR Sreeraman on Oct 5 2008 9:19 AM

The advertising industry has denied that food adverts are leading to childhood obesity epidemic.

There is no link between food adverts and childhood obesity, according to the advertising industry.

At a federal Parliamentary inquiry into obesity in Australia held in Brisbane, MPs were also told that advertising standards prohibited food being advertised as ’healthy’ in Australia.

Collin Segelov, Australian Association of National Advertisers executive director, claimed that CSIRO research would show no significant increase in childhood obesity since the last study in 1995.

"I’m not only arguing that advertising is not the cause of a childhood obesity epidemic, but that there is no epidemic," quoted Segelov, as saying.

"The incidence of obesity amongst schoolchildren in Australia has shown no significant increase since 1995.

"This makes the notion of an obesity epidemic, as continually put forward by academic activists and others - quite irresponsibly in my opinion - quite misleading, if not an utter nonsense," he added.

Segelov said food advertisers remained committed to a broader, more holistic approach to obesity.

He said that banning television advertisements would not work because advertisers would merely switch platforms, and children were already moving from television to other forms of "screen time" - the internet and pay TV.