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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    The Honourable Anna Bligh
    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson



    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Minister for Health
    The Honourable Stephen Robertson

    Tuesday, August 26, 2008


    The Bligh Government will consider banning junk food advertising on children’s television to help reverse the alarming rate of overweight and obese children in Queensland.

    Premier Anna Bligh and Health Minister Stephen Robertson today released a discussion paper inviting public feedback on restricting junk food ads, the first initiative under today’s Advancing Health Action – Australia’s Healthiest People.

    “My Government puts a premium on children’s health and wellbeing and has already demonstrated it isn’t afraid to make the tough decisions about our future,” Ms Bligh said.

    “One of the first decisions we made when I became Premier was to fluoridate Queensland’s water supplies, a major initiative that will improve our children’s oral health.

    “But Queensland is now facing a problem of epidemic proportions that will have devastating consequences if left unchecked.

    “One in five children aged between 5 and 17 are overweight or obese and this rate is growing.

    “Children as young as five now have type 2 diabetes which was solely considered an adult condition only about a decade ago.

    “Overweight children are 78% more likely to become overweight adults, leading to the well-supported prediction that this generation of kids will be the first to die younger than their parents.

    “The State Government has already introduced a number of successful measures in recent years to curb the problem.

    “We’ve cleaned up school canteen menus, entrenched weekly physical activity in state school curricula and public campaigns encouraging healthier eating and more exercise have really hit home.

    “But it’s not enough and we can no longer ignore the influence TV can wield over our children’s food choices.

    “I, as a parent, know all too well the ‘pester power’ junk food ads can cause, making it very difficult for mums and dads to say no to frequent requests from their children.

    “Quite frankly, junk food advertising is an issue that’s been long overdue for widespread discussion in our community.

    “I want to see parents, academics, non-government organisations, industry even children all talking about it and sharing their views with Government.”

    Mr Robertson said on average Queensland children who watched television did so for more than two hours a day - exposing them at least 60 ads a week promoting foods that are high in energy and low in nutrients.

    “Three out of every four food ads on children’s TV now promote junk foods or drinks – it’s increased from two out of three food ads in two years,” Mr Robertson said.

    “We have the highest number of food ads during children’s shows out of 13 OECD countries tested.

    “And it’s abundantly clear that fast food chains, confectionary and soft drink companies target our children through television.

    “A 2007 University of Sydney study for instance, found more than 10 junk food ads an hour were shown during children’s television while only two were shown during programs popular with adults.

    “Many countries have already followed the overwhelming evidence and moved to restrict television advertising to children. They include the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Quebec (Canada).”

    Mr Robertson said the Queensland Government had the power to restrict TV advertising in state legislation.

    “South Australia has also released a discussion paper inviting public feedback on junk food advertising today,” he said.

    “I welcome their decision to also put this important issue on the agenda for debate.”

    People can view the discussion paper at or or by emailing a request to Feedback should be submitted by 31 October, 2008.

    The discussion paper includes three possible times to ban junk food advertising:

    a. Children’s peak viewing times – 7.00am to 9.00am and 5.00pm to 8.30pm weekdays and weekends. Currently, 209,000 Queensland children are watching TV during these hours every day.

    b. Children’s general viewing times – 7.00am to 8.30pm every day. Approximately 289,000 children watch TV during this period.

    c. Children’s viewing times when they are unlikely to be supervised – 7.00am to 9.00am and 3.00pm to 6.00pm weekdays and 7.00am to 6.00pm weekends. Currently, 98,000 children are watching TV during these hours every day.

    26 August, 2008

    Contact: Premier’s office 3224 4500
    Health Minister’s Office: 3234 1190