Food marketing influences children’s food preferences, food choices and the food they ask their parents to buy.
The large amount of unhealthy food marketing in Australia distorts the perception of a healthy diet, particularly for impressionable children. The diet presented by food advertising is one low in fruits and vegetables and high in fast food, chocolate and snack foods.
Children’s Health or Corporate Wealth? addresses the current issues with the food marketing to children self-regulatory codes that the food industry uses.
Cancer Council has released the report following the release of their survey on community attitudes to food marketing to children which showed three quarters of the community support a ban on unhealthy food advertising that targets children.
Clare Hughes, Cancer Council’s Nutrition Program Manager, says
“The government has community support to protect children from the marketing of unhealthy food so now they must call ‘time’ on the facade of self-regulation and introduce effective legislation that will give children meaningful protection from the influence of unhealthy food marketing.”
Children’s exposure to food advertising that promotes unhealthy foods can be reduced by improving existing regulations.
Regulation of food marketing to children should:
• Protect the health of children over corporate interests.
• Apply to all media and forms of marketing, including TV, radio and print advertising, online marketing, food company websites and apps, social media, sports sponsorship, on-pack and in-store promotions and outdoor advertising, that is directed to children aged under 16 years, or to which a high number of children under 16 years are likely to be exposed.
• Use independently-developed and consistent nutrition criteria to ensure only healthy foods are promoted to children.
• Include independent, clear and transparent monitoring and enforcement processes.
Read the Children’s Health or Corporate Wealth? Brief Report
Download the full Children’s Health or Corporate Wealth? report
Reducing children and young people’s exposure to the marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods is included under Strategic Direction 1 in the NSW Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy: Preventing overweight and obesity in New South Wales 2013-2018.