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VicHealth campaign promoting physical activity to women is recognised with Fame Award

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

Health promotion foundation VicHealth has been awarded the Parents’ Choice Fame Award for its ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. ‘This Girl Can’ inspires women and girls to embrace a variety of physical activities to get them moving every day.

While Parents’ Voice is dismayed by the increased nominees in the Shame categories this year, its members are equally pleased by the efforts of companies encouraging children to adopt healthier food and drink choices and to get their bodies moving.

Chair of the Parents’ Voice Steering Committee and parent Ari Kurzeme voted for the VicHealth campaign ‘This Girl Can’ campaign and was impressed by its positive message. “‘This Girl Can’ presents a great opportunity and invitation for young women to try activities that suit them, to have fun while moving and says that sweating is okay – even beneficial.”

VicHealth Chief Executive Jerril Rechter advised “as part of our This Girl Can - Victoria campaign, we’ve heard from so many Victorian women who’ve gone to a sports club or gym and never gone back because they’ve felt intimidated, embarrassed and ashamed.

“It only takes one bad experience - whether that’s being mocked by other members to being ignored by a coach or instructor - to make a woman feel like she never wants to try a sport or physical activity again.

 “Over 90% of teenagers aren’t getting an hour of physical activity every day to benefit their health and half of teens drop out of sport when they turn 15.

“We know sports clubs want to get more people in their community involved in their sport, which is why we’re working with them to make their clubs more accessible to everyone - regardless of their gender, age, ability, cultural background or what they look like.”

Rechter said the program aimed to address declining rates of physical activity and the associated impact on the health of Victorians, adding “less than a third of us do enough physical activity in a week to benefit our physical health and mental wellbeing.

Now in its 14th year, the Fame and Shame Awards highlight the worst of junk food marketing and celebrate those promoting a healthy lifestyle to kids.

Nestlé, the world's largest food and beverage company, has taken out the shameful Smoke and Mirrors category in this year’s Fame and Shame Awards, narrowly taking the crown from previous ‘winner’ Kellogg’s.

Nestlé’s misleading campaign called for children to ‘add more to milk’ with MILO, neglecting to mention that it contains 9g of added sugar.

“Nestlé is hardly committed to contributing to healthier futures for our kids” said Alice Pryor, Parents’ Voice Campaigns Manager.

“Behind the Smoke and Mirrors, MILO only gets a 1.5 Health Star Rating without milk”.

McDonald’s and their ‘Happy Land’ app received the Digital Ninja award for being the digital media campaign most obviously targeting children and driving unhealthy participation in the brand.

“Using popular SnapChat-like features such as digital masks, in conjunction with featuring the animated character ‘Happy’, the app is designed to increase children’s brand affinity with McDonald’s,” said Pryor.

The Coles Little Shop campaign claimed the Pester Power award for 2018. Featuring discretionary products that appeal to children, including Nutella, Tim Tam and Oak chocolate milk, the campaign encourages children to nag their parents to purchase these unhealthy mini food replicas.

“The level of pestering the Coles Little Shop campaign encouraged in children was almost unprecedented. Through play with these products, our children learn unhealthy habits that may last a life time”. said Nicole French, a parent member of Parents’ Voice.

The Foul Sport award was presented to PepsiCo for its Gatorade ‘The Game is Never Over’ campaign. The campaign used sporting identities, including AFL star Scott Pendlebury, to promote Gatorade to children.

“Parents are fed up with sports drinks such as Gatorade marketing to kids via their sporting heroes,” French continued.

“With nine teaspoons (36g) of added sugar per 600ml bottle – three more teaspoons of added sugar than the recommended daily intake for adults – Gatorade is more likely to lead to weight gain than sporting prowess.”

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition, said that this type of unhealthy food marketing is undermining efforts by parents, schools and communities to encourage healthy habits.

”We know marketing works; it directly impacts what children eat and what they pester their parents for. Today’s awards expose the sneaky tactics big brands continue to employ in order to manipulate kids into eating their products. Whether it’s using fun, colourful packaging, or targeting kids online through emotionally persuasive and immersive games, the industry has no shame and will always put profits ahead of kids’ health,” Martin said.

“When around 40% of the energy in the average Australian child’s diet comes from junk food, it’s time for the Government to stop leaving industry to make its own sham rules.”

For the second year running Coca-Cola was awarded a dishonourable mention, along with their partner, The Salvation Army, for teaming up to bring the Coke Christmas Truck on tour through Australia with its planned conclusion at Sydney’s Carols in the Domain.

Other Fame awards were given to the Phenomenom campaign winning the Parents’ Choice Award for Food from a strong field which included a revamp of the classic Australian bananas campaign. The Phenomenom campaign features springboard videos and interactive lessons for children, making food a core component in education.

“We’re pleased Phenomenom, produced by former Masterchef contestant Alice Zaslavsky with funding from Horticultural Innovation Australia, has found a way to appeal to the inquisitive minds of children, promoting healthy food in a creative and accessible way,” Pryor said.

“We congratulate the team involved for working towards creating positive change through environments where children spend a significant portion of their time – schools”.

“This year’s Fame and Shame Awards underscores the failure of the self-regulatory advertising environment in Australia. We continue to be shocked by the amount of junk food and drink ads aimed at children. 1 in 4 Australian kids are above a healthy weight. This targeting of Australian kids must end.” concluded Pryor.

For more information on Vic Health's ‘This Girl Can’ campaign go to

Related Articles

19th August 2018 - VicHealth looks to enhance This Girl Can campaign in regional Victoria

22nd April 2018 - VicHealth campaign looks to overcome barriers to women’s activity

7th February 2017 - VicHealth opens latest Active Club Grants round to encourage women’s sport participation

2nd July 2016 - VicHealth investing in the health and wellbeing of Victorian women

4th August 2014 - VicHealth looks for new ideas to get more Victorians physically active

5th December 2017 - VicHealth funding to back sports clubs meet demand for women’s sport

10th August 2015 - VicHealth commits $1.8 million to get 25,000 women active

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