Jillian Adams, weight co-ordinator at North Coast Area Health.
Jillian Adams, weight co-ordinator at North Coast Area Health.

Experts back push to ban junk food TV ads

By JANE GARDNER

THERE'S no disputing our children are getting much fatter, much earlier ? but will banning 'junk food' adverts ease the childhood obesity crisis?

Local experts say yes.

They support a State Government push to ban food advertisements on television aired during children's programs.

The move follows a study by the NSW Cancer Council that found Australian networks ran more food adverts during children's programs than any other country in the world.

"This is a shocking statistic," said Jillian Adams, the healthy weight co-ordinator for the North Coast Area Health Service.

"Children under eight years old don't have the critical literacy skills to understand the motives of advertisers," she said.

"It encourages 'pester-power' and parents get worn down by their children."

Her advice to parents is to limit children's television to two hours, to avoid commercial programs, or tape them and fast forward the ads.

Greg Newson, a Lismore natural therapist, regularly treats children with weight problems.

He supports banning the ads.

"Junk food has a hell of a lot to do with childhood obesity and it is as simple as that," he said.

Mr Newson said parents were responsible for their children's eating habits to some extent and needed to be aware of nagging.



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