Media, public health and law: A lawyer's primer on the food advertising debate

Elizabeth Handsley, Christopher Nehmy, Kaye Mehta, John Coveney

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    Abstract

    Recent years have seen the intensification around the world of debate about the regulation of food advertising to children, against the backdrop of a marked increase in levels of overweight and obesity among children. This article is intended to introduce lawyers to that debate and to facilitate their participation in the debate, particularly in relation to television. It is timely to do so because of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's current review of the Children's Television Standards. The article sets out some information about the obesity levels in children, the nature of television food advertising and the evidence that exists to link childhood obesity with that advertising; describes and analyses the means by which food advertising on television is currently regulated in Australia and overseas; and draws attention to some of the misconceptions that the authors have noted in contributions to the debate. Finally the authors put forward a public health analysis of the issue, noting in particular the dangers in framing the issue as one of ‘parental responsibility’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)87-106
    Number of pages20
    JournalMedia and Arts Law Review
    Volume12
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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