Fast food giant McDonald's has received three servings of shame from parents in the annual children's food marketing awards.
Voted by more than 200 members of the Parents Jury, McDonald's was named the most irresponsible creator of food promotions in three out of four categories in the Fame and Shame Awards.
These included its sponsorship of a high school maths website (the Techno Hack category), the Pester Power award for animated Happy Meal TV ads featuring play equipment, and the Bad Sport category for sponsorship of grassroots state Little Athletics competitions.
The Smoke and Mirrors category was won by Kellogg's Nutri-Grain ads, deemed misleading due to the high-sugar cereal's promise of turning boys into elite athletes.
The Parents Jury, an online network of parents who advocate improving children's food and encouraging physical activity, also paid tribute to those promoting healthy food choices to children.
The Socceroos took out the Fame Award for Parents Choice for their association in 2009 with Sanitarium Weet-Bix and Batlow Apples.
Victorian Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson likened shopping with children at a supermarket to a war zone.
"There is a deluge of propaganda out there," she told the awards ceremony on Tuesday.
"Advertisers understand very, very well the psychology of children and they really cash in on it."
Ms Wilson said the insidious marketing of junk food to children led not only to obesity and other chronic illnesses but long-term health costs to the community.
Obesity expert Anna Peeters said banning junk food advertising on television would not get rid of the problem.
The Monash University public health researcher told AAP that unregulated media such as the internet avoided the restrictions enforced on other media.
"We're trying to redress the balance," Ms Peeters said.
"We're pushing towards more corporate and social responsibility."
A statement by McDonald's said the company rejected the Parents Jury awards.
"We do not believe McDonald's is deserving of these awards or that they are a reflection of the attitude of the majority of Australian parents, grandparents and guardians," the statement said.
"Since 2002, we have worked closely with accredited practising dietitians and have made many positive changes to address community concerns around obesity and marketing our foods responsibly to children."http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/mp/6482020/mcdonalds-scoops-three-shame-awards/
I can't imagine that there was a time when anyone thought that a fast food outlet was there to provide nutrionally balanced food. Is it possible that people are relying too heavily on such places to feed their children?