Media Release by The Hon Larry Anthony MP

Advertising healthy lifestyles to children

The advertising industry has to take proactive approaches and consider the effect their influence has on our children’s health and wellbeing Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Larry Anthony, said today

Mr Anthony was addressing the Kid Power 2003 forum, focussing on marketing to children, in Sydney.

“Advertisers have a social responsibility to bear given their influence over children, particularly in regard to promoting healthy lifestyles.

“The key area that needs to be addressed in partnership by governments, families and industry is how we can encourage our children and young people to eat well and to live healthy and active lives.

“20 to 25 per cent of our children – around 1 million Australian children – are now overweight. Many other children are not eating well because of the ‘model’ images that are promoted.

“The Australian Government does not want to be forced to impose regulations on the advertising industry or on food manufacturers. However, it expects these industries to acknowledge that they have tremendous influence over children.

“We expect them to take a leading role in educating our children and parents to support healthier nutrition and lifestyle choices.”

Mr Anthony said it was encouraging that sections of the industry are already heeding the message. The Australian Association of National Advertisers with Commercial Television Australia are working on an advertising campaign that stresses the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Some food advertisers are also looking at their advertising codes.

“A National Obesity Taskforce, set up with the agreement of all Australian Health Ministers, has been working on a national plan of action on obesity to operate at all levels of government and will involve all sectors.

“I am keen to work effectively with advertisers to improve our children’s chances in life. We need to reduce the level of obesity and illness. Nothing is more important than the future of all our children,” Mr Anthony said.