Politician wants a ban on junk food advertising for children to fix Australia’s ‘obesity epidemic’

An Australian politician has her sights set on junk food and the way it’s promoted to children.

MP-turned-GP Sophie Scamps revealed she is on a mission to end junk food advertising to curb the growing bellies of little Australians.

The Teal MP intends to draft a private member’s bill to end junk food advertising and promotions at children’s sporting events, as well as advertising during prime time television, when children normally sit in front of the television screen.

“Advertising aimed at children – during the time that children are watching TV, at their sporting events – all these things need to be checked. They can be changed.”

She added: “We have a choice. We’re either looking at prevention, or we’re starting to radically expand our hospital systems now to deal with this burden of chronic health conditions.”

Credit: Jo Fairey / Alamy Stock Photo
Credit: Jo Fairey / Alamy Stock Photo

The bill would target advertising for fast food chains like KFC, which sponsor Australian cricket; Hungry Jacks supporting the NBL; and McDonald’s, which works with the AFL while supporting a number of community competitions such as Little Athletics.

The independent MP also compared the Junk Food Advertising Ban Act to the tobacco advertising bans that hit the sports world in 1976.

According to a study released in March by the Australian government’s National Obesity Strategy, the cost of Australia’s healthcare system drains $11.8 billion a year from government coffers.

That “is expected to grow to $87.7 billion by 2032 if nothing is done,” added Dr. Scamps added in a later statement.

The Teal MP revealed in a statement obesity may have flown under the radar or been overlooked during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, as the costs of Australia’s healthcare system rise again, according to Dr. Scamps are now also increasing weight-related diseases such as diabetes and some cancers.

The mother-of-three added that she expects parents to welcome the advertising bans, which in turn would reduce supermarket demand (and tantrums) for junk food when shopping.

“We all know how powerful that pest voice is that the kids, when we’re at the register and have seen something on TV and they really want it… it’s very hard to say no,” said the Independent MP for Mackellar said the SMH.

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