Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram A health lobby group is calling for a total ban on junk food advertising during peak children’s television viewing times. According to the Herald Sun this follows from the Obesity Policy Coalition releasing research that found 84 per cent of consumers believe children should be protected from unhealthy food advertising.The coalition’s strategy is the most comprehensive produced in Australia to limit big businesses from bombarding children with junk food advertising. It proposes unhealthy food ads on TV be banned on weekdays from 6am to 9am and 4pm to 9pm, and weekends and school holidays from 6am to noon and 4pm to 9pm.An OPC senior policy adviser, Jane Martin, said childhood obesity rates were of great concern. “We have a runaway train, and we need to slow this juggernaut, we need to slow it down and turn it around,” Ms Martin said.Compared to previous generations, young people are likely to suffer a decline in life expectancy because of obesity, Ms Martin said. “Children are very vulnerable and they can’t detect the difference between advertising and entertainment when they are very young, so it’s not really ethical to be targeting them in this way,” she said.Voluntary codes developed by the food industry in 2009, which purported to ensure food advertising directed at children represented healthier choices, was not working, she went on to say. “Our analysis indicates the current self-regulation system is utterly ineffective in protecting children from being the target of junk food advertisers. It is now time for the Government to step in and cease the pervasive promotion of junk food to children on TV, via the internet and through direct marketing.”This system was allowing junk-food companies to advertise during the highest rating children’s TV programs, and through Facebook, free toy offers, competitions and sports sponsorship.The group’s research found nearly 60 per cent of more than 1500 adults surveyed nominated TV advertising or toy giveaways as having the biggest impact on their children when asking for unhealthy food.The Obesity Coalition includes the Cancer Council, VicHealth, Diabetes Australia, Deakin University’s WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention, and is backed by the AMA and a host of public health organisations.