How about we start doing this in the United States as well?
THE Coco Pops monkey and Paddle Pop lion would be scrapped under a Cancer Council proposal to ban cartoon characters and sports stars from spruiking unhealthy kids’ food.
Cancer Council NSW, backed by the Obesity Policy Coalition and The Parents’ Jury, are seeking a ban on promotional characters, movie tie-ins and the athletes who promote foods high in sugar, fat and salt.
Although stopping short of calling for plain packaging, Cancer Council nutritionist Kathy Chapman said regulations around the marketing of foods to children were urgently needed.
“What we’d like to see is the removal of these promotional characters – whether they’re cartoon characters, sporting celebrities or movie tie-ins – from all foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.
Research by Cancer Council NSW and the University of Sydney’s Prevention Research Collaboration found that nearly 74 per cent of promotional characters on Australian food packets promote products to children that would fail healthy nutritional standards.
Among the foods targeted are Bubble O’Bill ice-creams, which have 25 per cent of a child’s recommended daily saturated fat intake in one 65g serve, and Kellogg’s Froot Loops, which have almost three teaspoons of sugar per 30g serve. Coco Pops are more than one-third sugar and contain nearly a third of a child’s daily sodium intake in one 30g serve.
It is estimated that one in four children are overweight or obese. Obesity Policy Coalition senior policy adviser Jane Martin backed the Cancer Council’s call.
“We’d like to see these powerful kinds of endorsements by licensed characters, company-owned cartoons and celebrities not allowed on unhealthy foods,” she said.
“Children in particular are vulnerable to this thing. They are familiar with the character so it’s not surprising when you are using Sponge Bob Square Pants and Bart Simpson to advertise food that children relate to these characters.”
Ms Martin said packaging was a key part of a promotional arsenal. While her organisation welcomed cricketers fronting Weet-Bix, which were high in fibre and low in salt, she said Ky Hurst spruiking the high-sugar cereal Nutri-Grain misleadingly gave it “a healthy halo”.
Parents’ Jury campaign manager Corrina Langelaan said plain packaging would be the first step in attacking pester power.