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VicHealth calls for higher standards on fast food marketing to teenagers and children

VicHealth calls for higher standards on fast food marketing to teenagers and children
January 21, 2020

VicHealth and the Obesity Policy Coalition are calling for higher standards on fast food marketing to teenagers and children after new research has revealed how unhealthy food and drink advertisements manipulate them into buying their products.

The research from the University of Michigan found teenagers were particularly susceptible to unhealthy food ads, which targeted the reward centres of their brains leading to increased consumption of fast food.

The study also found that fast food ads for healthier options, like salads, still used branding and logos associated with predominantly unhealthy foods. This led to teens craving the unhealthy fries and burgers associated with the brand, rather than the healthy food in the ads.

In response to the research VicHealth Executive Manager of Programs Kirstan Corben is calling for greater protection for children and teens from the predatory tactics of unhealthy food marketers.

Corben advised “this research shows the impact unhealthy food and drink marketing is having on vulnerable kids and teenagers.

“Fast food advertising is rampant and incessant, and this research shows how it leads to kids eating more unhealthy food.

“These companies spend millions on advertising, promotions and sponsorships and they do it because it leads to more kids and teenagers eating their unhealthy products.

“It’s time we put our kids’ health above the profits of the unhealthy food industry.”

Obesity Policy Coalition Executive Manager Jane Martin said it was time to set higher standards for how the food industry markets and sells the food we eat to our kids.

Martin added “with over a quarter of Victorian kids above a healthy weight we want to see higher standards for marketing to kids and teenagers.

“We want to see a restriction on unhealthy food and drink advertising during peak viewing times for kids on television and social media, restrictions to make sport and major community events free from unhealthy food and drink sponsorship, and mandatory regulation to stop unhealthy advertising in government owned spaces like train and bus stations.

“Government controls have been introduced in other countries, such as Chile – we should also be ensuring that we protect our kids from the unhealthy influence of the food and drink industry.”

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25th June 2019 - Reviews shows sugary drink taxes reduce consumption

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9th April 2019 - VicHealth research reveals widespread promotion of alcoholic drinks on social media

18th March 2019 - VicHealth report says women are ‘shamed’ into quitting fitness activities

7th February 2019 - VicHealth grants to encourage community sport programs

30th January 2019 - VicHealth research considers the effectiveness of health and wellbeing appsĀ 

10th December 2018 - Latest VicHealth funding helps local sports clubs achieve their goalsĀ 

6th December 2018 - Health promotion efforts lauded at VicHealth Awards

5th December 2018 - VicHealth campaign promoting physical activity to women is recognised with Fame Award

7th November 2018 - VicHealth initiates new sports programs to get Victorians active

11th October 2018 - VicHealth’s wellness and activity promotion recognised with Australasian Leisure Management award

26th February 2018 - Western Leisure Services introduce innovative healthy eating menus

12th April 2017 - Junk food constitutes majority of purchases from swimming pool kiosks

23rd November 2016 - Grattan Institute report says sugar tax could halt growing obesity rates

14th April 2016 - YMCA Australia backs calls for taxes on sugary drinks

2nd February 2014 - Health groups urge Australian Government to curb the junk food industry


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