The Obesity Policy Coalition today welcomed funding for preventative health measures announced in this year’s Federal budget around marketing and advertising of unhealthy food to children and development of a National Nutrition Policy Framework.
$500,000 over two years for a feasibility study into marketing and advertising aimed at children that will consider the practicalities of implementing restrictions similar to the UK.
$700,000 over four years for whole-of-government approach to develop a National Nutrition Policy Framework to support healthy eating in Australia.
OPC Executive Manager, Jane Martin, said this funding is an important step towards protecting children from unhealthy food marketing and advertising, but urgent action is needed to promote healthy weight and improve diets in Australia.
“We welcome support from the Federal government to explore the current marketing and advertising landscape aimed at children and look at implementing restrictions similar to the UK - where no advertising of unhealthy food is allowed on TV prior to 9pm and a total ban on digital platforms,” Ms Martin said.
“This is a positive step towards prioritising the health of our children above the profits of the processed food industry. Kids should be able to go about their daily lives without being exposed to, or targeted by marketing for unhealthy food.
“Unhealthy messaging acts like constant wallpaper – for example, children can be exposed to almost 100 online promotions for unhealthy food every week. We know from our Brands off our kids! campaign launched last year that 7 in 10 Australians want government to step in to protect our children from unhealthy food marketing.
“We are also pleased to see funding announced for a long-awaited National Nutrition Policy Framework that will help improve diets and reduce obesity in Australia.
“Obesity remains an urgent public health issue, with two thirds of Australian adults, and one in four children above a healthy weight. More than nine out of ten Australian adults and children are not eating a healthy diet.
“Investing in these preventative health measures is a sensible approach to support children to have the best start in life. But we need to go further. We want government to implement a health levy on sugary drinks and mandate labelling of harmful added sugars to support the health and wellbeing of Australians over the profits of the processed food industry.”