16 Jun 2011

Fiji health officials want voluntary ban on junk food and alcohol advertising

7:10 pm on 16 June 2011

Fiji's Ministry of Health is calling for a voluntary ban on junk food and alcohol advertising by all importers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retail outlets.

New research shows the incidence of obesity among children in Fiji has increased rapidly in recent years and shows no sign of abating.

The head of the Pacific Research Centre for Prevention of Obesity and Non Communicable Diseases says one study showed a range of interventions to promote healthy food and exercise made little difference over two years.

Dr Wendy Snowden says a second study of younger children revealed their vulnerability to advertising.

She says half of all children watching advertisements for junk food then asked someone to buy that food for them.

"There is certainly an extensive problem here, as bad as you would find in other countries, in terms of the advertising and promotion less healthy foods particularly to children. So there's certainly a reason for doing something to try and control that issue. Whether its through voluntary controls or through regulations."