AMA President Dr Mukesh Haikerwal today called on the Federal Government to urgently ban all advertising of junk food to children, after a new study revealed that two-thirds of advertising during high-rating children's television programs promotes junk food.
'This startling study demonstrates that junk food manufacturers focus their advertising efforts on vulnerable children and young people,' Dr Haikerwal said.
'Children are unsophisticated consumers of media - there's a very real danger that exposing them to a high volume of junk food advertising will undermine the healthy food messages they may receive from their parents or teachers.
'In a nation with an escalating childhood obesity problem, it is unacceptable to allow these ads to air during children's prime-time TV.'
The study, by the University of Sydney's Australian Centre for Health Promotion, found that 65.9 per cent of advertisements aired during popular children's television programs are for foods high in fat and sugar.
The Coalition on Food Advertising to Children (CFAC), of which the AMA is a member, earlier this year sent a comprehensive briefing paper on the impact on children of junk food ads to Federal and State MPs, calling for an immediate ban.
'Restricting junk food advertising is an easy, cost-effective, and responsible way in which the Federal Government can begin to tackle the childhood obesity crisis,' Dr Haikerwal said today.
'This latest research highlights the urgent need to ban these ads during kids' TV viewing times.'