Researchers with the New South Wales Cancer Council and University of Adelaide have assessed food and beverage TV advertisements broadcast in five major Australian cities during children’s programming from September 1 to October 31, 2010, and found a total of 951 breaches of both mandatory and voluntary regulations. Michele Roberts, et al., “Compliance with children’s television food advertising regulations in Australia,” BMC Public Health, October 5, 2012.
According to the study, “[a]lmost 83% of all food and beverages advertised during children’s programming times were for foods classified as ‘Extras’ in the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating. There were also breaches in relation to the amount of advertising repetition and the use of promotional appeals such as premium offers, competitions, and endorsements by popular children’s characters.” The researchers conclude that the country’s current regulatory system “is not providing comprehensive protection for children from exposure to television advertising for unhealthy foods.” They also contend that the regulations have not been effectively implemented and are inadequately monitored.
In a related study published in Public Health Nutrition, Australian researchers surveyed all advertisements on three TV channels over five years and found that children were exposed to as many “junk food” brands both before and after self-regulation pledges were made by leading food manufacturers in 2009. Kathy Chapman, a Cancer Council nutritionist and director of health policy, participated in both studies and reportedly said, “These studies combined show industry codes of practice are not having an impact and we are seeing such big loopholes for the food industry to get away with this.” Australian Food and Grocery Council chief executive Gary Dawson said that the industry had succeeded in removing “non-core food advertising” targeting children. See Sydney Morning Herald, October 13, 2012.