Parents are fighting a losing battle against childhood obesity in Australia and it’s not surprising considering the number of junk food ads kids are exposed to each hour on TV – three every 60 minutes according to a report published in the Journal of Public Health.
And that’s not even including product placements in movies, ads on YouTube and billboards.
The overwhelming food message being fed to our kids being:
Junk food is fun! Look how happy we are eating it? You could be this happy too. EAT ME!
It’s like snake-charming our kids into wanting it, while parents sigh another utterly exhausted sigh at the prospect of yet another “food” product we have to try to keep away from our kids.
What has become blatantly obvious is that the government’s voluntary guidelines that junk food advertisers please stop advertising during children’s TV viewing hours are completely ineffective. Introduced in 2009, eight years later nearly half of all food ads during kid’s viewing hours on TV are for unhealthy foods, and one in four are for fast food.
Still want to blame parents for childhood obesity?
Peter Gleeson, Editor of the Sunday Mail feels it's time to cut back on junk food advertising targeted at kids. He told Karl Stefanovic on Today the frequency of ads is "crazy". "The amount of fast food ads during Peppa Pig is insane," he said.
Gleeson said we need to focus on educating our kids about healthy eating; "We need to educate our kids around nutrition and the amount of junk food ads out there is crazy."
But by "we" he obviously doesn't mean parents alone, because blaming parents isn't working with one in five Aussie kids now clocking in as overweight or obese, according to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).
I have three children, two of whom are thin and one of whom is overweight. A visit to the doctor's office confirmed that and we were instructed to make an appointment with the in-house dietitian to discuss healthy eating (dieting) and making good choices (counting calories).
I never kept that appointment.