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AMA wants all-party blitz on booze ads to kids

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The AMA last week welcomed the Greens’ policy to ban the promotion of alcohol during kids’ television viewing times and urged the major parties to adopt similar policies.

Dr Hambleton said it was unacceptable that young children are exposed to a barrage of ads for alcohol during programs that are broadcast in the timeslots that are traditionally set aside for kids’ viewing.

“Young people in Australia are exposed to an unprecedented level of alcohol marketing,” Dr Hambleton said.

“While there are current regulations in place that provide some protections, live sports broadcasts during the day currently allow advertisers to promote unhealthy or addictive products, including alcohol.

“Alcohol marketing is a pervasive and dangerous presence in the lives of our young people.

“Being exposed to advertising that glorifies alcohol at an early age can shape attitudes and behaviours in later years.

“Studies show that 12 year olds who are heavily exposed to alcohol advertising are 50 per cent more likely to start drinking in the following year than those lightly exposed.

“There is no place for advertising that promotes and glorifies alcohol during programs that appeal to kids and are broadcast in times traditionally set aside for kids, and the same goes for ads that promote gambling and junk food.

“Let our kids be kids and keep adult advertising for unhealthy products and practices out of their television viewing times.”

In September 2012, the AMA released a report, Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda, which is available at http://ama.com.au/node/8188

In Key Health Issues for the 2013 Federal Election, the AMA highlights the health of Australian families as a priority for the next Government.

The AMA believes that the health of Australian families would be enhanced by a range of measures, including:

  • curbs on alcohol marketing to young people, and appropriate minimum pricing for alcohol products; and
  • measures to improve environmental health, including better standards for clean air, greater preparedness for the effects of climate change, and greater controls and monitoring of non-conventional gas mining projects.

The AMA believes that better health can also be achieved through measures that help families make healthier choices in the food and drinks they consume.  The AMA calls on the next Government to:

  • support the 5-star food labelling system that has been agreed upon by Australia and New Zealand food ministers, as well as health, consumer and food industry bodies, which will give consumers simple at-a-glance information about the healthiness of packaged food; and 
  • take steps to control the exposure of children and adolescents to energy drinks that contain caffeine and other stimulants, and drinks with high levels of sugar.

John Flannery