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Banning food ads targeted at kids
Date:3/21/2013

Researchers from the University of Alberta are leading a charge among Canada's obesity experts and calling on the federal government to ban food and beverage ads that target children.

Kim Raine, a professor with the Centre for Health Promotion Studies in the School of Public Health at the U of A, says governments need to take action to stem the rising obesity epidemic. The only exception to a proposed food and beverage marketing ban would be for approved public health campaigns that promote healthy eating.

"Restricting marketing is not going to be a cure for childhood obesity, but it's one step in a multi-pronged approach to creating an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice," said Raine, lead author of new consensus recommendations calling for the ban.

"Right now, it's the flashy, highly marketed, 'fun,' high-sugar and high-fat foods that are the easy choice. Kids see them and want them, and parents' efforts to encourage their kids to eat a healthy diet are undermined."

The recommendations were developed by leading Canadian and international obesity experts at an obesity conference held in Montreal in 2011. They were published last month in the peer-reviewed Journal of Public Health Policy, in an early online release.

More than five million Canadians are considered obese, including 500,000 children, and the number of kids who are overweight or obese has more than doubled since the early 1980s.

That's a trend Raine says cannot continue without overloading the health-care system80 per cent of costs are associated with obesity-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure and certain cancers. Obese children are more likely to become obese adults, she said, meaning the rates of these preventable chronic diseases are only going to rise.

"Without investing in strong prevention efforts, like the proposed ban, the health system is not s
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Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

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