Conference paper

Consuming children: An analysis of Australian press coverage of the claims and counterclaims of advocacy and industry groups in relation to a proposed ban on 'junk food' advertising

Advertising Obesity Mass media Print Junk food Australia
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Evidence of rising rates of overweight and obesity in Australia has generated considerable discussion about potential policy responses and solutions. In relation to childhood obesity, one suggestion that has been put forward is to ban or restrict junk food advertising to children. Debate about the merits of such a proposal was an enduring issue in the Australian press during our study's time frame, January 2008_January 2009. This paper is one part of a larger project investigating the reporting and portrayal of overweight and obesity in the Australian media, and the lived experiences of overweight and obese adults. In Australia, O'Hara (2006) notes the significant increase in reports on obesity from 141 articles in 2000 to 2,900 in 2004 in major metropolitan daily newspapers. Children have by no means escaped this increasing media interest in the causes and consequences of overweight and obesity and coverage has kept pace with the growing concern about this particular group. One study identified more than 5,000 articles related to childhood overweight and obesity between 2000 and 2005, with restrictions on television food advertising making an appearance during this time as an important solution to the problem (Udell & Mehta, 2008).

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