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Protecting children from junk food advertising

May 2011 

The Obesity Policy Coalition, of which Cancer Council Victoria is a partner, has developed a ‘blueprint’ or a plan for legislation that offers children protection from junk food advertising – which is one of the key drivers of childhood obesity.

The evidence-based blueprint has been presented to the State and Federal Governments. It focuses on how advertising should be restricted and proposed definitions of key terms such as ‘unhealthy food' and ‘directed to children'.

Currently in Australia all food advertising and promotion is self-regulated by the advertising industry. However in launching the blueprint, Senior Policy Adviser for the OPC, Jane Martin, believes it is time for the government to step in.

"The Federal Government has given the industry a chance to clean-up their act, but self-regulation has proven to be a complete failure in protecting children from junk food marketers," said Ms Martin.

"In fact, it allows junk food companies to advertise during the highest rating children's TV programs. It also permits them to use websites and Facebook, free toys, competitions and sports sponsorship as marketing tools to reach kids, as well as obtaining children's contact details and marketing directly to them via email, SMS or mail.

"Australian consumers have had enough of junk food companies marketing unhealthy food to children. New Cancer Council research found nearly 60% of grocery buyers nominated TV advertising or toy giveaways as having the biggest impact on their children asking for an unhealthy food product," said Ms Martin.

So what can you do? Spread the word, read the blueprint and talk to your local MP about it. Download the blueprint and share via social networking sites.

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