business news in context, analysis with attitude

In Australia, The Age reports that a debate is shaping up over whether there ought to restrictions or a complete ban on the advertising of so-called “junk food” to children.

According to the story, “Cancer Council Australia chief executive Ian Olver has argued that with obesity now proven to be a major contributor to several cancers, a failure to ban the advertising of junk food to children was increasingly unjustifiable.”

However, the government has so far refused to institute such a ban, saying there is no evidence that banning certain kinds of commercials and advertisements leads to a decrease in the obesity rate and an improved health profile among young people.
KC's View:
We’re not surprised that no such evidence exists, since the whole notion of banning certain kinds of advertising to children is relatively new.

Ultimately, it won’t matter what the advertisements say if parents and schools aren’t on board in terms of providing positive examples and sending positive messages.

Perhaps not coincidentally, there are other press reports out of Australia saying that fast food chains there have agreed to reduce the trans fats in their foods, a move seen as forestalling the likelihood of government intervention and mandatory reductions.

The one thing that the industry has to understand is that all these kinds of debates and policy shifts are interconnected…and that what governments, cultures and industry players need to do is formulate comprehensive and holistic approaches to nutrition, health and obesity issues. A patchwork approach just doesn’t make sense; it is like applying a band-aid to a hemorrhage.