At the International Congress on Obesity in Sydney, the IOTF outlined seven principles worldwide governments should uphold to protect children from junk food ads, in hopes of stemming the obesity pandemic. The TaskForce recommends limiting or outright banning TV, internet and newspaper advertising, sponsorship, competitions, loyalty schemes and product placements aimed at children 13 and younger. The IOTF also says that industry self-regulation has been ineffective, and governments must step in and implement regulations.
"We know quite clearly that self-regulation in the food and beverage industry simply doesn't work," says Professor Boyd Swinburn of Deakin University and president of the Australasian Society for the Study of Obesity. "What we need are hard and fast statutory regulations that force companies to comply."
The IOTF recommends that governments commit to commercial-free schools and support children's access to healthy foods. Governments should write all policies into law, and make it illegal for companies to fail to comply, the TaskForce recommends.
Swinburn says the food and beverage industry's self-regulation is "weak," since "the last thing they want is to be regulated to reduce sales of those junk foods that are causing obesity."
Neville Rigby, IOTF policy and public affairs director, says, "If we are to succeed in halting the global epidemic of childhood obesity, we must challenge all governments, the whole of the business world, and society ... to join us in tackling this together."