On 24 July, the SBS news headlines screamed
Campaigners fear junk food advertising is making Australian children fat
Here is a summary from the full report,
More than one million Australian children are above a healthy weight, the July Victoria’s Obesity Policy Coalition report found.
The report blames the junk food industry (which by the way includes breakfast cereals such as Coco Pops) for making Australian children fat because they are promoting cartoon characters and giving out free toys. “Children are also exposed to the marketing material through social media, online games and even apps…”
We know marketing directly impacts what children eat, what they want to eat and what they pester their carers for.”
The Coalition has called on the government to intervene saying, “It’s time for government to step in and support families and communities to raise healthy children, free from the negative influence of junk food marketing.”
For as long as I can remember, I have heard Australia being referred to as the Nanny State. And now another organisation is demanding the government take over what should be the parents’ responsibility. On that note, there’s a really good article about nanny state policies by The Institute of Public Affairs that’s worth reading – 10 Worst Nanny State Policies.
I’m sorry if I sound unsympathetic, but I can hardly blame the food industry (even if it is junk food) for wanting to make a profit – which business sets out to make a loss?
Kellogg’s Corn Flakes were invented in 1894 and even before 1909, there were recorded instances of Kellogg’s giving away prizes for the cost of a dime. So did the children start getting obese way back then? Didn’t children also throw tantrums to get the toys that came with the packaging?
I suspect that children (and adults!) started getting weight problems when they stopped going out to play and started sitting with their head down looking at their tablets!
Coming back to the junk food, in the first place, DON’T introduce these cereals/foods to your children. Children don’t know what they taste like until AFTER you give them the first bite. The same goes for chocolates, ice creams, lollies, etc. If your children are going to a party, do have a chat with the other parent to make it clear that you do not want your children to be given any junk food/sweets/lollies/etc. Most parents are happy to accommodate. Secretly, I’ll bet that’s what they’d like to cut out from their children’s diet as well.
As a parent, if you feel certain foods are not good for your children, remember, YOU are the adult. YOU make the choice. YOU hold the cash/credit card. YOU take the responsibility! Junk food advertising didn’t make your children fat – you did when you buy those junk food for them.
For heaven’s sake, JUST. DON’T. BUY. THEM!