News

Children's TV advertising: self-regulation is not enough


30 September 2010

Industry self‑regulation has not reduced the amount of TV advertising for unhealthy food being seen by children.
Industry self‑regulation has not reduced the amount of TV advertising for unhealthy food being seen by children.

Children still see the same amount of television advertising for unhealthy foods as they did before industry self-regulation was introduced last year, according to new University of Sydney research published in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

Lesley King, paper lead author and adjunct senior lecturer for the University's Prevention Research Collaboration, said of the 41 companies advertising foods in May 2009, only 14 of them were signed up to the industry code.

While companies who signed up to the industry's voluntary code of conduct had reduced their volume of unhealthy food advertising, the volume of advertisements for unhealthy foods from other food companies, who have not signed up to the code of conduct, had not.

Altogether, the study found that the average number of unhealthy food advertisements per hour is the same as it was in 2007.

"So, after 12 months there has only been limited uptake of the voluntary industry code," Ms King said.

"Also, for the changes observed in 2009 to be sustained, the code would need to be stronger.

"Reducing the advertising of unhealthy foods to children is an important part of the ongoing efforts to reduce childhood obesity.

"So far, there have been no benefits for children."

For interviews and more information, contact Lesley King on 9036 3291 or 0418 648 629.


Media enquiries: Rachel Gleeson, 0403 067 342, 9351 4312, rachel.gleeson@sydney.edu.au