Growing up you believe the world is meant to be the way it is. The older I get the more I realise that this is not the case. The world is full of injustices and atrocities that governments and the voice of faith expect us to accept, though with each passing year they grow fewer and fewer, at least one would hope. I have created this blog as a space for me to rant about all things science, politics, philosophy and religion, before it’s too late and the vessel of new atheism propelled by a growing surge in secularism solves all of the world’s problems for good.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Goodbye junk food ads and sponsorship?

So the Obesity Policy Coalition are pushing for the Government to step in and put heavy regulations on the advertisement and maybe even sponsorship of junk food companies.

It proposes unhealthy food advertising on TV be banned on weekdays 6am to 9am and 4pm to 9pm, and weekends and school holidays 6am to 12pm and 4pm to 9pm.”

I think we need to focus more on education to both children and their parents, as well as warning labels on the products themselves, or the ads too. However, I don’t think the Government should step in and choose when and where junk food companies can advertise and whom they can and can’t sponsor.

At the end of the day it’s the parents who decide what their children eat, irrespective of their children nagging them for MacDonald’s or Cadbury chocolate. They need to take some responsibility for their children’s weight and health. It’s not the fault of the companies, though their tactics at targeting the right demographic to make sales may have a questionable morality behind it, the parents need to harden up and say “NO!”. If you’ve got irresponsible parents, you can ban everything in the world, but at the end of the day if your parents will still be irresponsible… If they’re not up for the job it shouldn’t be the Government who has to step in.

There’s also absolutely no evidence to back up these regulations and prove they will work, the same as with the current goings-on with the plain packaging of cigarettes. We can’t just put policies in assuming they may work and thus are justified. That’s not good public policy making, and is a waste of time and resources.

Quebec, as an example, brought in the same kind of Governmental regulation of junk food advertising to children through any medium back in 1980. Obesity rates in children didn’t increase following this regulation, to the contrary, they actually increased.

On a quick final note, people keep telling me the “slippery slope” analogy is a fallacy, but I doubt it’s a coincidence that junk food is now being targeted after the huge move to further regulate cigarettes. Alcohol too has been the focus for a while; remember the alco-pop taxes that didn’t work…? People are finding it far to easy now to blame everyone but themselves and harass the government to clean up and take control. That is not their job. Take some responsibility for yourself people.


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