Jamie Oliver is using his power of influence for good, taking on the big corporations that bombard us with junk food advertising. Oliver’s beef is specifically with those ads and businesses targeting children, and promoting unhealthy nutritional choices from a young age.
“If kids are constantly being targeted with cheap, easily accessible, unhealthy junk food, just think how hard it must be to make better, healthier choices,” says Oliver on his website. “We have to make it easier for children to make good decisions.”
According to Jamie’s team, half of all the ads on TV during prime time are for junk food companies. And although Oliver’s statistics reflect UK society, the message is equally relevant back home in Australia.
Obesity is a huge problem in Australia, with recent figures released from the National Health Survey indicating that almost two thirds of us are overweight or obese. This is up 15 per cent in the last 20 years, and is steadily increasing. For men, the figures get even worse, with 71 per cent of Aussie blokes tipping the scales at a level that is deemed overweight.
According to WHO, children who are overweight or obese are more likely to grow into obese adults, and habits formed in childhood, such as food choices, are carried over into later life. This increases their risk of developing a number of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“These ads undermine any positive work we’re doing in schools or at home to tackle the rise of childhood obesity. Currently, there’s nothing in place to protect our kids from seeing these adverts – apart from literally covering their eyes,” explains Oliver. This is the theory behind his viral #AdEnough campaign, which encourages the public to post a selfie covering their eye, and placing pressure on governments to enforce strict guidelines when it comes to unhealthy marketing.
Oliver is throwing all of his celebrity weight behind the fight in the hopes of instigating some real change. “I really believe we can get this over the line – we’ve already got some amazing support in government, and from big names in the sport, health and food worlds.”