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Politician wants a ban on junk food advertising for children to fix Australia's 'obesity epidemic'

Rachel Lang

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Politician wants a ban on junk food advertising for children to fix Australia's 'obesity epidemic'

Featured Image Credit: drsophie4mackellar/Instagram. Kwanchai Chai-udom/Alamy Stock Photo.

An Australian politician has her sights set on junk food and the way it's advertised to children.

GP-turned-MP, Sophie Scamps, revealed she is on a mission to scrap junk food advertising to curb the expanding tummies of small Australians.

The Teal politician intends to draft a private member’s bill to put an end to junk food ads and promotions at children’s sporting events as well as advertising during prime-time television, when kids are usually in front of the TV screen.

"I know my children’s sport is sponsored by fast food companies," Dr Scamps said, as per The Sydney Morning Herald.

"Advertising that targets children - during the times when children are watching TV, at their sporting events - all those things need to be looked at. They can be changed."

She added: "We have a choice. We either look at prevention, or we start to expand our hospital systems radically now to deal with that chronic health disease burden."

Credit: Jo Fairey / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Jo Fairey / Alamy Stock Photo

The bill would target advertising for fast food chains such as KFC, who sponsor Australian cricket; Hungry Jacks, who back the NBL; and McDonald’s, who is partnered with the AFL while also supporting a range community competitions such as Little Athletics.

The Independent MP also compared the junk food advertising ban bill to the bans on tobacco ads that hit the sporting world in 1976.

According to a study released in March by the Australian Government's National Obesity Strategy, the price tag for the Australian Health System sets the nation's coffers back by $11.8 billion per year.

That 'is projected to rise to $87.7 billion by 2032 if nothing is done,' Dr Scamps added in a later statement.

The National Obesity Strategy report also revealed that the average five to eight-year-old child in Australia is exposed to 827 junk food advertisements per year.

The Teal MP revealed in a statement that obesity may have flown under the radar or been overlooked during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, with costs rising once again for the Australian health system, Dr Scamps says weight-related ailments such as diabetes and some cancers are now on the increase too.

The mum-of-three added that she expected that parents would be keen on the ad bans, which would in turn reduce supermarket demands (and tantrums) for junk food while shopping.

"We all know how powerful that pester voice is that the children, when we’re at the checkout, and they’ve seen something on telly, and they really want it ... it’s very hard to say no," the Independent MP for Mackellar told the SMH.

Topics: Australia, News, Health, Politics, Parenting

Rachel Lang
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