SYDNEY: The Advertising Federation of Australia has warned proposals by the government's Preventative Health Taskforce to restrict the promotion of alcohol and junk food could slow the country's recovery from the economic downturn.

The PHT, founded last year to tackle health issues relating to matters such obesity and alcohol consumption, has recommended banning TV ads for "energy dense, nutrient poor" foods from early-to-mid-morning.

It also wants to curb the promotion of junk food on TV during children's viewing hours, and to restrict similar ads in other forms of media.

Other recommendations include banning alcohol advertising, discounting and sponsorship, as part of the PHT's overall aim of making Australia "the healthiest country by 2020".

However, Mark Champion, the executive director of the AFA, argues such measures could undermine the effects of the government's stimulus package.

Says he: "It's all very well for the Federal Government to commit to spend close to A$20bn ($12.7bn; €9.9bn; £8.9bn) to stimulate the economy, but it makes no sense to then go and restrict the ability of companies to advertise and market products – especially at a time like this."

Data sourced from M&M Global; additional content by WARC staff