AMA backs parliamentary move to restrict 'junk food' advertising

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The AMA says it supports legislation tabled by an independent member of the federal parliament that impose restrictions on the advertising of 'junk foods'.

The Member for Mackellar, Dr Sophie Scamps, tabled the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Healthy Kids Advertising) Bill 2023 (Bill) earlier this week.

The Bill would restrict junk food advertising from appearing on television, radio, and streaming services between 6.00am to 9:30pm. It would also ban paid junk food marketing on social media and all online platforms."

In the Bill's second reading speech, Dr Scamps said, "The objective of the bill is to protect our greatest resource - our children - from the harmful impacts of junk food advertising.

"This Bill is not about telling people what they can and cannot buy or eat; it's about creating environments that support our kids' health as they live, play and learn."

AMA President Professor Steve Robson said the AMA supports the Bill.

“We welcome Dr Scamps’ Bill which effectively puts the food and advertising industry on notice that the sheer saturation of junk food marketing to children can no longer be accepted,” he said.

“Children are very susceptible to what they see around them and are just bombarded with sophisticated behavioural marketing which is very effective at changing behaviour and steering them towards unhealthy choices."

Professor Robson continued, “With a quarter of Australia’s children, and more than half of our adults overweight or obese and about half of all Australians having at least one chronic disease, it's time we take some preventative action.”

“One of the AMA’s key policy priorities is to tackle obesity and nutrition through a tax on sugary drinks. Australians drink 2.4 billion litres of sugary drinks every year, with the average can of soft drink containing around eight to ten teaspoons of sugar and no nutritional benefit.

“Chronic health conditions such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are more likely to develop at a young age due to obesity and these are preventable.

“Just last week we talked about shifting from a ‘sickcare’ health system to a healthcare system. This bill will help us do that and deserves to become law for the sake of the health of our children," he added.