Governments should learn a lesson from tobacco marketeers and restrict junk food advertising aimed at children, says a prominent obesity specialist. Boyd Swinburn, professor of population health at Deakin University in Australia, was one of several members of a global task force on obesity who called for international standards on advertising food products to children. "If you put a child in a sweet shop and say 'Choose not to consume that', it's an almost impossible responsibility," said Neville Rigby, director of policy and public affairs for the London-based International Obesity task force. (Companies like Altria have historically launched joint efforts to combat criticism of tobacco and food industry policies.) Papers and talks presented at the International Congress on Obesity in Australia were promptly attacked by snack food and restaurant industry advocates. Food industry PR flacks allege that at least one obesity task force member is underwritten by pharmaceutical companies seeking to market antiobesity medications. Many conference participants are calling on the UN's World Health Organization to promulgate uniform restrictions on food marketing to children.
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