July 13, 2015
Ads fuelling junk food epidemic
An obesity expert says it would be unethical for Maori Television to start advertising junk food in the middle of an obesity epidemic.
Boyd Swinburn from Auckland University says the channel may be struggling because of the government-imposed funding cap, but trying to get extra revenue by courting the fast-food franchisers would be a betrayal of its role as a taxpayer-funded public service broadcaster.
He told Radio Waatea host Willie Jackson he’s has also tried unsuccessfully to get other broadcasters to stop fuelling a public health crisis.
"We’re now at a stage where one third of our children are overweight and it’s even higher for Maori and Pacific. That’s third out of OECD countries. This is not a bronze medal we need to be proud of and I think we need to get serious about how do we reduce obesity in our children and reducing the marketing of the very foods that are driving the obesity epidemic has to be one part of the whole solution," Professor Swinburn says.
He says the rapid rise in obesity over the past 30 years is due primarily to an over -consumption of calories, and no amount of exercise will help.
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