Food Police want to ban the Milky Bar Kid

February 10th, 2014 at 6:38 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Junk food advertising targeting children should be banned as part of the fight against childhood obesity, scientists say.

A new Otago University study reveals how advertisers use free toys, gifts, discounts, competitions, promotional characters and celebrity endorsements to sell junk food to kids.

Has there ever been a study out of Otago University that hasn’t concluded that the answer is to ban advertising of something?

Childhood obesity rates have risen from about 8 per cent in 2007 to 11 per cent in 2013. . This had corresponded with a rise of Type 2 diabetes in children, which was once known only as adult-onset diabetes.

Has advertising changed in those six years? No. So maybe the increase is due to other factors such as parents not ensuring their kids have a balanced diet and enough exercise.

But Food and Grocery Council chief executive , who represents members including Mars and Nestle, said the calls to ban the advertising were emotive.

There were already strict rules governing what food ads could be aired during children’s television programmes, she said.

“The idea of banning free toys and characters sometimes makes me think these people have forgotten the joys of childhood.”

She said past campaigns like the Milky Bar Kid and Cookie Bear had given a generation of kids fond childhood memories.

In New Zealand, Mars, Coca-Cola and Nestle all had policies of not targeting food ads at children.

Ultimately, controlling what children ate was a parental responsibility, she said.

“Children don’t stroll in to McDonald’s on their own.”

Indeed.

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46 Responses to “Food Police want to ban the Milky Bar Kid”

  1. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    Well said Katherine Rich, I am sick of these clowns who constantly call for a ban on things they don’t like. Isn’t it time we accepted responsibility for our choices.

    I truly believe these “researchers” have spent no time at all outside their lab let alone time in places like Porirua, Otara etc. To spend time in the supermarkets there would make you realise there are cheap healthy options available but the so called poor don’t want them. The parents know what they should feed the kids but don’t care to so why the hell should my child be denied a treat every now and then because of them??

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  2. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    “Children don’t stroll in to McDonald’s on their own.”

    No, but they can be (and often are) very persuasive and persistent.

    Ultimately, controlling what children ate was a parental responsibility,

    I agree with that, but we as a society are facing major changes in diet, health and related problems. What should we do about it, if anything?

    Adults are increasingly eating and living unhealthily. And so are their kids. The consequences can be significant – I’ve seen close up what an impact it has when a (skinny and active) child gets diabetes with serious life-long implications.

    Should we just shrug it off and say it’s freedom of choice? Or should we consider what could be done to address a growing (and fattening) problem?

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  3. Manolo (13,768 comments) says:

    Otago University is a mecca for wowsers and tin-pot dictators. Why is it?

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  4. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    Seriously Pete you take the biscuit at times.

    I have an 8 year old so spend loads of time with her and her peers, yes kids can be persistent but at the end of the day it is the parent who chooses where they take the kids for lunch and you just say no. You obviously don’t spend much time with primary aged kids anyway as most of the kids I know repeat the mantra (taught at school) that McDonalds is occasional food.

    If you look at obesity in a historical, as opposed to a hysterical, context it is linked to prosperity. A dirt poor country doesn’t have excess food so are you suggesting we become dirt poor. Anything else is taking away personal responsibility and infantisising the population with conciquences that are way worse than obesity.

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  5. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    As an aside my daughter and her friends would rather have a Kebab or curry anyway. McDonalds chips in particular are way to salty for most of them.

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  6. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    I’ve seen close up what an impact it has when a (skinny and active) child gets diabetes with serious life-long implications.

    If you’ve seen a skinny, active kid with diabetes, you’ve seen a kid with Type 1 diabetes – which is an auto-immune disease and nothing whatsoever to do with diet.

    Seems like these days if any news item that mentions food or drink includes the words “Otago University,” you can stop reading because it will be some load of old cobblers. Unfortunately, academic freedom also means the freedom to make your university a laughing stock.

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  7. Yoza (1,872 comments) says:

    Big corporations brainwashing impressionable kids, … excellent!

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  8. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Abject waffle from taxpayer-funded academics, mostly leeching Greens. Why even mention these scum.

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  9. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Also, this news about horrendous child abuse:

    This had corresponded with a rise of Type 2 diabetes in children, which was once known only as adult-onset diabetes.

    If your kid develops Type 2 Diabetes, you’ve fed it truly colossal amounts of sugar and other refined carbs, and little else. You stupid, stupid fuck – get yourself sterilised before you abuse any more children.

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  10. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    Manolo (12,136 comments) says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 7:13 am
    Otago University is a mecca for wowsers and tin-pot dictators. Why is it?

    Because Otago is a mecca for wowsers and wanna-be tin-pot dictators?

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  11. ex-golfer (161 comments) says:

    I’m confused……….
    We get told 1in 5 kids are living in poverty.
    We get told 1in 3 kids are obese.
    Am I missing something here?

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  12. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    MT_Tinman: Look at the politicians they have elected over many years, all real losers, both past and present. Most of these trough snouters being ex Otago University. Remember that pathetic ex teacher who jammed tennis balls in kid’s mouths and peeped at young girls in dressing rooms, Peeker Hodgson or something I think.

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  13. hj (7,013 comments) says:

    By not supporting the right things you give the greens credibility.

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  14. OneTrack (3,095 comments) says:

    “Am I missing something here?”

    When the left (ie Otago University “researchers”) use the word “poverty” and “obese”, it typically doesn’t mean what you might think it means, or what it says in the dictionary. Orwell called it “Newspeak”.

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  15. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @CHFR

    “If you look at obesity in a historical, as opposed to a hysterical, context it is linked to prosperity”

    ——————-

    That’s not supported by the facts.

    Obesity is much more prevalent among the lower socioeconomic groups than other sectors of society. Which indicates that it isn’t caused by prosperity.

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  16. ex-golfer (161 comments) says:

    @igm
    Actually it was David Benson-Pope.
    He is now a Dunedin city councillor.

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  17. MT_Tinman (3,186 comments) says:

    hj (5,489 comments) says:
    February 10th, 2014 at 7:52 am
    By not supporting the right things you give the greens credibility.

    Nothing, nothing at all, ever, would give the reds credibility!

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  18. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    ex-golfer: These two bit bludgers are of no consequence, so one confuses them, after all, they are typical Labour trough snouters, somewhat akin to Lying Lianne in Christchurch.

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  19. Fentex (974 comments) says:

    Has advertising changed in those six years? No. So maybe the increase is due to other factors such as parents not ensuring their kids have a balanced diet and enough exercise.

    Without taking any position on the issue I think this statement is logically flawed.

    If for the sake of argument we accept that advertising is successful at encouraging children to eat certain foods (or perhaps at encouraging children to play slothful games inside, just something that contributes to increased obesity) and for a period up to 2007 contributed to an increase in rates of obesity then it shouldn’t be a surprise if it continued to contribute to an increase.

    If it could contribute to an increase then the increase wouldn’t occur all of a sudden, going from none to it’s maximum. It would occur over time as the efforts to change behaviour took effect, and any point in time chosen to look at during it’s occurrence is going to be a point in time that there was less before it and more after it.

    So the idea that advertising hasn’t changed (which I don’t believe anyway, advertisers are very creative, competitive and busy people) says little about it’s possible contribution.

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  20. Longknives (4,744 comments) says:

    Didn’t they replace the Milky Bar kid a few years back with a little Maori girl?
    Apparently the Milky Bar kid being a blonde haired, blue eyed boy was ‘wacist’..or something…

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  21. jcuk (686 comments) says:

    Unfortunately it is cheaper to eat badly than to eat well. So when you have NZ style poverty as opposed to World style poverty the nice sugary poison will win out over good food … I am glad I was brought up in the UK during WWII when sugar was strictly rationed and had sensible parents to carefully control what little was allocated to us. 28g of sweets per week, etc etc.

    No time for Hodgeson myself but he was not the peeper… it was the other one.

    In view of the medical costs of looking after these sick people I would have thought it more inteligent to support the Otago researchers calls than to blindly and foolishly stick to the ‘freedom to eat stupidly’ mantra. Could save a lot of your hard earned tax dollars from being extracted from you. Another example of the irresponsible right. Too dumb to save themselves money LOL

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  22. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Here is one truth you can take to the bank.

    Whenever you see, “A new university study has revealed…..” whatever follows is going
    to be unadulterated bullshit.

    (And you can double that if its Waikato university.)

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  23. peterwn (3,272 comments) says:

    Milky Bar Kid did set a good example by traveling by train. surely this advantage offsets the allegedly undesirable nature of the product.

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  24. Reid (16,454 comments) says:

    Has there ever been a study out of Otago University that hasn’t concluded that the answer is to ban advertising of something?

    Given one Peter Davis is or was a professor of public health there, is it any surprise the deck’s been stacked chock full of lefty wowsers?

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  25. CHFR (229 comments) says:

    Gump it is the rise in wealth and urbanisation that has allowed processed foods to become cheaper than making your own. Hence my statement about historical rather than hysterical.

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  26. Brian Smaller (4,023 comments) says:

    Unfortunately it is cheaper to eat badly than to eat well.

    I just cannot agree with that. I believe it is easier to eat badly than to eat well. It is a matter of choices and planning.

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  27. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    Unfortunately it is cheaper to eat badly than to eat well.

    That is about as truthful and has as much common sense as the study from purported academics at Otago University. Quite frankly, it is a lie.

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  28. RRM (9,920 comments) says:

    Remember when we decided to ban drugs, and now there is no problem with drugs any more? Banning junk food advertising will be just like that!

    (Although… anything the sneering, condescending, awful Katherine Rich is against is worthy of a second look in my book… fcuk I can’t stand her.)

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  29. Than (473 comments) says:

    I agree with that, but we as a society are facing major changes in diet, health and related problems.

    Pete, do you have any data to back up the assertion that our diets are changing? It’s not like we suddenly invented chocolate, soft drink, or fast food 5-10 years ago, they’ve been around for generations. Likewise the ways these products are promoted (TV ads, pamplets, signs) also pre-dates the “obesity epidemic”.

    While it would be interesting to look at spending on different products (fast-food, confectionary, fruit/veg, etc.) over time and see if there has been a change, my belief is that increasing obesity is less about diet and more about inactivity. Modern technology lets us do many of the tasks we want/need to do with very little physical effort, and that trend is only increasing.

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  30. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    The changes that are coming are that sugar and processed foods, particularly processed carbs, are known and shown to be really, really bad and the right type and amount of fats are actually better for us than maybe a lot of dieticians thought.

    Message: Cut out the carbs and sugar, and bad fats, (saturated fats and trans fats). But good fats such as monounsaturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and omega-3s have the opposite effect. In fact, healthy fats play a huge role in helping us control weight.

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  31. Mrs Trellis (34 comments) says:

    “No, but they can be (and often are) very persuasive and persistent. ”

    Yes, but a quick slap fixes that! :)

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  32. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    Pete, do you have any data to back up the assertion that our diets are changing? It’s not like we suddenly invented chocolate, soft drink, or fast food 5-10 years ago, they’ve been around for generations. Likewise the ways these products are promoted (TV ads, pamplets, signs) also pre-dates the “obesity epidemic”.

    Available food now is vastly more extensive, varied, processed and sugar added than in the past, I ‘m not aware of anyone contesting that. There’s been a huge change in my lifetime.

    Things that were perhaps a once a year treat for me and now commonly part of regular diets.

    The “obesity epidemic” hasn’t just suddenly happened. Many of the problems are inter-generational. Commercially brainwashed parents are now feeding their kids poorly, they’ve been sold on convenience, extras and upsizing.

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  33. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    I’ve actually been involved in a number of food and diet studies done through Otago University, they have been very interesting. Gaining knowledge seemed to be the aim and they don’t all result in call to ban.

    Perhaps the media like to highlight selected ban calls and cherry pick while they ignore the good research.

    The current Otago Food Research programme: http://www.otago.ac.nz/foodscience/research/

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  34. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “I agree with that, but we as a society are facing major changes in diet, health and related problems. What should we do about it, if anything?”

    NOTHING! you control freak!

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  35. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “Unfortunately it is cheaper to eat badly than to eat well”

    yeah, im not convinced.

    i guess if you lived on the supermarket specials? like 3 giant bags of caramel fat fuck potato cheeseballs for $5…

    Dime rocks up to the fruit & vege shop and leaves with a giant bag or two and its usually under $20.

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  36. Than (473 comments) says:

    Available food now is vastly more extensive, varied, processed and sugar added than in the past, I ‘m not aware of anyone contesting that.

    Allow me to be the first then. Modern food is no more processed than in the past. The difference is simply that in the past we called it “cooking” and a greater portion of it was done in the consumers home. Cutting the fat off a piece of meat is processing it. So is dicing carrots and mixing them with peas and corn.

    Slapping the ominous sounding label “processed” on food says exactly zero about how healthy it is.

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  37. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    There’s a big difference between dicing a carrot and putting a Weetbix in a carton with flavoured milk and calling it a breakfast alternative.

    http://www.sanitarium.co.nz/products/breakfast/up-and-go

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  38. NK (1,244 comments) says:

    Neither Weetbix nor Up And Go are nutritional breakfasts. They’re both rubbish. Junk if you like.

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  39. RRM (9,920 comments) says:

    3 giant bags of caramel fat fuck potato cheeseballs for $5…

    :lol: Actual LOL

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  40. Than (473 comments) says:

    There’s a big difference between dicing a carrot and putting a Weetbix in a carton with flavoured milk and calling it a breakfast alternative.

    And how is Up-and-Go any less healthy than a kid putting weet-bix in a bowl and sprinkling a couple of generous spoons of sugar on top before adding milk? I certainly remember doing that quite often growing up. Calling food “processed” is an inane buzzword that tells us zero about how healthy it is. Frozen mixed vegetables are very processed, but they’re far healthier than the “unprocessed” weet-bix with lots of sugar.

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  41. Pete George (23,562 comments) says:

    When people refer to ‘processed’ they probably mean over-processed. Adding “value” is a common means of increasing profit.

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  42. Sofia (857 comments) says:

    ex-golfer – I’m confused … We get told 1in 5 kids are living in poverty.
 We get told 1in 3 kids are obese.

    Am I missing something here?

    Yes, the 47% of kids who may be OK

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  43. jp_1983 (213 comments) says:

    Oh and don’t forget Sanitarium don’t pay tax… /yawn…

    Really at the end of the day, once smoking is banned, sugar is banned temperance is back up and running.

    We will all be able to look back at history and say well those guys used to have fun, while todays masses are praying to Gaia, and having a life expectancy of 25

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  44. chris (647 comments) says:

    One of the problems is that in the 70s it was decided that fat was bad. But take the fat out and it doesn’t taste as good. So in went the sugar. If you ever look at the sugar content of “lite” foods, it’s always far higher than the regular stuff. Far too much sugar in our diets coupled with not enough exercise and you get some of the causes of the problems we are seeing today.

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  45. Muzza M (291 comments) says:

    I would always pester my mum to buy Kellogs cornflakes because they had the better plastic toys inside. I also became quite fond of weetbix because I liked collecting the cards (I still have about 30 albums in my filing cabinet). I lost all the Kellogs toys though.

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  46. ChardonnayGuy (1,206 comments) says:

    In terms of healthy products, one answer is obviously to appeal to corporate social responsibility. And actually, when it comes to chocolate, dark chocolate’s actually better for you in small amounts if you’re diabetic and susceptible to hypoglycaemia attacks (low blood pressure) like me. I never liked white chocolate even before I developed diabetes, for that matter. Too sickly sweet, ugh.

    One regional diabetes prevention group, Diabetes Manawatu, accepts local advertising from an alternative sweetener (stevia) manufacturer and entrepreneur, for instance, and stevoil glyceride and rebaudoside A have benefits when it comes to assisting pancreatic, kidney and cardiovascular functions according to clinical research.

    As for unhealthy products, one aspect of marketing is the use of psychographics and consumer psychology within advertising strategies, unfortunately. Which does make regulating or selectively banning some forms of advertising sensible in this context. And fiscally responsible, given that the consequences of diabetes and its complications may include cardiovascular disease, kidney malfunction, impaired vision, nerve atrophy and other causes of increased public health expenditure through necessary pharmaceutical purchases, hospital bed occupancy, medical equipment plant replacement and wages and time allocation for any medical practitioners involved. As primary health care measures, advertising bans and regulation are actually good fiscal sense and provide latter benefits compared to downstream costs. Just ask any health economist.

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