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VicHealth considers new industry code on unhealthy food advertising to be ineffective

VicHealth considers new industry code on unhealthy food advertising to be ineffective
February 26, 2020

VicHealth considers new industry code on unhealthy food advertising to be ineffective

Following the recent announcement of a new voluntary industry led code on unhealthy food advertising, VicHealth considers it to be ineffective and is calling for government regulation to protect students from unhealthy food marketing around schools.

VicHealth Chief Executive Dr Sandro Demaio noted that the new code does not reflect the evidence nor go far enough to stop unhealthy food industries from marketing their products to young children.

Dr Demaio advised “Fast food advertising is rampant and incessant, and research shows it leads to kids wanting and eating more unhealthy food. I’m concerned a voluntary code will not protect kids from unhealthy food and drink marketing.

“For a start a 150-metre limit is not far enough – the evidence shows that setting a 400-metre zone free from unhealthy food marketing around schools is the best way to reduce exposure and protect kids.

“We also know that a high number of school students travel to school on public transport, which is why it’s critical our bus and tram stops and train stations are also free from unhealthy food and drink marketing.

“While a welcome first step, this policy is voluntary and not enforced, and in reality does nothing to stop fast food and sugary drink giants from paying for billboards advertising their unhealthy products to be put up around schools.

“We’re calling for government to protect our kids from the predatory tactics of unhealthy industries through mandatory regulation restricting unhealthy food and drink marketing within a 400-metre zone around schools.

“Unhealthy food and drink companies spend millions on advertising, promotions and sponsorships 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.”

Key facts:

  • Around a quarter of Australian children and teenagers are above a healthy weight
  • 80% of food advertising within 500 metres of primary schools was for unhealthy foods and drinks
  • More than 50 per cent of secondary students in Australia report seeing an offer for unhealthy food on public transport in the past month
  • Most food marketing that is directed towards children is for unhealthy products high in sugar, salt and saturated fat

Related Articles

25th February 2020 - Unhealthy food and drink advertising restricted near schools

10th November 2019 - Museums Victoria to phase out unhealthy drink options

13th July 2016 - Children need protection from unhealthy food and drink sports sponsorship

27th August 2014 - Study shows drinks children associate with sport are largely unhealthy

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

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

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

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

3rd March 2018 - VicHealth calls for Australia’s supermarkets to take action on obesity

14th January 2010 - VicHealth awards head to Alcohol and Obesity Policy Coalitions


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