A child who watches two hours of television a day will see an estimated 2200 junk food advertisements in a year – that’s the equivalent of spending three entire school days watching junk food ads! But junk food marketing isn’t limited to television; food manufacturers use a range of techniques to target children. Every day kids are exposed to junk food marketing through product placement in movies and electronic games, on-pack giveaways and competitions, in-store promotions, sponsorship of sport or education programs, billboards and on the internet.
Junkbusters helps parents bite back against unhealthy junk food marketing! It’s a one stop shop for information, alternatives and solutions to junk food and junk food marketing. Junkbusters beats the red tape so that you can complain about junk food advertisements and so your voice can be heard.
Cancer Council NSW wants tougher regulation of junk food marketing to kids but we can’t do it alone. We need your help to make some noise and get the government’s attention. By lodging a complaint or sharing your concerns about food marketing, you can make a real difference in protecting children and helping parents and kids make better food choices.
Currently, in Australia, there’s a confusing mix of government regulation and voluntary codes on food marketing to children. The Australian Government has been trialing self-regulation to see whether food companies will clean up their act on their own, but so far it isn’t working.
The codes are complex, confusing to navigate and are full of loopholes that mean junk food manufacturers can still advertise their unhealthy products when and where they know children are watching.
For a summary of the different regulations and what they cover click here.
Why the fuss about junk food marketing to children?
Almost one-quarter of children and adolescents in Australia are overweight or obese. Frequent marketing of unhealthy foods affects children’s food preferences, the food they ask their parents to buy (pester power), and the food they ultimately eat. Let’s face it, if marketing didn’t work, companies wouldn’t spend millions of dollars doing it.
Children are a particularly vulnerable audience – they don’t fully understand the persuasive intent of advertising and can be easily deceived by ads. Restricting unhealthy food marketing to children is one important strategy in the battle against childhood obesity; that’s why we‘re campaigning to limit junk food marketing in children’s environments.
Why is Cancer Council NSW involved?
Preventing weight gain in children is a key priority for Cancer Council NSW. Junk food marketing is one of the factors that helps create an unhealthy environment and contributes to overweight and obesity. Overweight children are likely to become overweight adults. Being overweight or obese increases the risk of some types of cancer. We want to break this chain and provide a healthier environment for our kids.
You can read the Cancer Council Australia Position Statement on Food Marketing to Children here.