Could banning ads that promote junk food to kids help cure obesity?

It’s a step in the right direction according to experts from the University of Alberta.

“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,” Kim Raine, a professor in the School of Public Health at University of Alberta, said in a press release.

While you could argue that it’s up to parents to steer their children in a healthy direction, researchers say that junk food ads are undermining their efforts.

“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,”
says Raine.

The research
, which is published in the Journal of Public Health, was undertaken by obesity experts around the world.

“To protect children from the adverse health effects of exposure to commercial marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages,” the study’s authors wrote. “We recommend a Canadian (federal) government-led national regulatory system prohibiting all commercial marketing of foods and beverages to children under 18 years of age.”

The consensus? 

Prevention efforts are essential if we hope to put a stop to the rising incidence of obesity and chronic disease.

What do you think? Should junk food ads be banned in Canada? Do you think a ban would help put a stop to the obesity epidemic?

-Katharine Watts, Associate Web Editor

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