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Children targets of junk food marketing

Children targets of junk food marketing

Otago Daily News

The Government must step in to curb the marketing of unhealthy food to children and young people, argues a leading public health researcher.

The call by the University of Auckland’s Professor Boyd Swinburn, sounded in the New Zealand Medical Journal, comes as researchers say sophisticated marketing methods, such as cookies and advert-linked gaming, are being used by food websites to target children.

Swinburn has claimed a submission by 77 New Zealand health professors to a recent industry review of self-regulatory advertising codes had been “largely ignored”.

A review panel, reporting to the Advertising Standards Authority, has proposed a single voluntary code on advertising to children to replace the existing two children’s codes which cover food and general advertising.

In a paper featured in the journal today, Swinburn evaluated the proposed new ASA code against eight criteria in the professors’ submission for an effective code.

“The evaluation found that the proposed code largely represents no change or uncertain change from the existing codes,” he said.

“It can not be expected to provide substantial protection for children and young people from the marketing of unhealthy foods and there is no indication that independent monitoring will be implemented to assess the code’s effects.”

Swinburn said the ASA Review Panel received 91 submissions – including 52 from public health and nutrition organisations that called for substantially strengthened codes, and 15 from the food and beverage industry sector, which largely opposed stronger codes.

Read more: https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/children-targets-junk-food-marketing