In an effort to promote healthy habits, Australian organisations are working towards the restriction of the mass marketing of junk food and drink, as it is believed to be a large contributor to the obesity epidemic facing children across the country.
As of now, there are no laws in place to reduce the promotion of junk food and drink in Australia, however, Crossbench MP, Dr Sophie Scamps, aims to introduce to the federal government a Healthy Kids Advertising Bill which will regulate the marketing of junk food in Australia.
The bill will include regulations banning junk food advertisements on television and radio from 6:00 am to 9:30 pm, as well as banning junk food marketing on the Internet.
“We know our children are exposed to over 800 junk food ads on TV alone every year, and that there is a direct link between those ads and childhood obesity.”
“The current restrictions are not strong enough and self-regulation is not working,” Dr Scamps said.
The bill has an overwhelming amount of support from individuals such as fellow independent MP Monique Ryan, Australian Medical Association President Professor, Steve Robson, and organisations such as the Cancer Council and the Public Health Association of Australia.
The marketing of junk food and drink items has been present both digitally through television and social media, and physically in local communities displayed on advertisements at shopping malls and sports clubs.
A NSW study in which the 500 metre radius of 40 primary schools in Sydney and Wollongong were examined, it was found that there were over 2,000 outdoor food advertisements, with 80% of advertisements promoting junk food.
Researchers at the Cancer Council also revealed the amount of funding that goes into junk food marketing, with sugary drink industries spending $129.5M on advertising, with studies showing 80% of the advertising could be visible to children, with 45% of advertising on television, and 35% on advertising outside the home.
Cancer Council WA Research Director, Melissa Ledger, warns State and Federal Governments that without stronger protections, children will continue to be inundated with unhealthy food and drink advertising that may contribute to child obesity.
Ledger, along with Cancer Council WA, is pushing the Western Australian government to prohibit unhealthy food and drink marketing on public property and transport such as buses, trains, billboards, and stadiums.
“Our children should be free to walk to school without seeing the latest soft drink ad at their bus stop”.
“They should be able to watch their footy team score on their favourite TV program without being bombarded with harmful marketing that increases the risk of obesity, and 13 types of cancer in later life,” Ms Ledger said.
In an attempt to combat the unhealthy effects of junk food, gym establishments, like Engadine’s Vision Personal Training, are helping Australians to get active.
Feature Image: ABC News Australia