Marketing obesity? Junk food, advertising and kids
Research Paper no. 9 2010–11
Dr Rhonda Jolly
Social Policy Section
12 January 2011
- Childhood obesity has been labelled one of the most serious public health issues of the 21st century.
-Overweight and obese children typically grow into overweight and obese adults, who are susceptible to chronic complaints such as diabetes and cardio vascular disease. These diseases place considerable burdens on national health systems and economies.
-It can be argued therefore that policy which encourages healthy eating habits is desirable. However, the increasing availability of foods high in fat, sugar and salt (so called junk foods) across the world has made eating healthily a challenge.
-This challenge, according to some research, is compounded by advertising that adversely influences people’s food preferences and consumption patterns. As a consequence of this research, there has been considerable advocacy which has urged governments to place limitations on the advertising of junk foods, particularly to children.
-In opposition, other research has supported the argument that junk food can be part of a balanced diet and that it should be the responsibility of individuals, including children, to make decisions about what they consume.
-This paper considers both sides of this debate.
-The paper also looks briefly at the policy approaches to junk food in a number of countries and consequent actions taken to control or prohibit the influence of advertising. In particular, the paper notes recent Australian Government approaches to dealing with this issue.
-The paper concludes that to date, the Australian response to this issue has emphasised the value of a self regulatory regime.
-However, this approach may be modified in the future, as a result of a number of factors. These include growing public demand for intervention and a shift in health policy more towards preventive health than has been emphasised in the past.
Good article for thought. Although, I do see a lot of finger pointing going on. Who is ultimately to blame for the unhealthy 'junk'. The Manufacturers or the advertisers? Methinks they are just large cogs in a much bigger machine.
It seems the junk for the body isn't the only thing served. Junk for the mind and spirit as well. Preventative measures imply lobbying from the medical industry as well. Especially from the mental health division. Perhaps this is where new regulations could be wrought for the politicians to mull over. Never mind any moral implications. Those always get in the way of good business deals.