Fat Free TV Guide names best and worst TV programs for junk food advertising to kids

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Saturday AFL, Saturday night family movies and X-Factor have topped a list of more than 100 popular television programs for having the highest amount of junk food ads during the ad breaks.  

Cancer Council NSW has named the programs in Fat Free TV Guide, a website which rates and ranks the best and worst programs based on how much junk food is advertised.

The guide reveals that children watching the three unhealthiest programs would be exposed to 26 junk food ads for foods like chocolate, high energy drinks, and fast food chains over a six hour viewing period.  

Meanwhile, the guide also reveals that if a child was to eat a serve of all of the foods advertised during a single episode of Saturday AFL, they would consume seven times more fat, and four times more sugar than the recommended daily intake, proving that junk food advertising is sending the wrong messages about healthy eating.    

Research suggests that advertising leads children to pester their parents for junk food an average of 15 times per visit to the supermarket*. They are successful in half of these attempts.

Clare Hughes, Nutrition Manager at Cancer Council NSW, said that overweight and obesity is one of the biggest health problems facing Australia and the situation is being worsened by the high amount of junk food ads aimed at children on television.

“The Fat Free TV Guide clearly shows that junk food companies are choosing to advertise their unhealthy products during programs that are popular with children and families,” she said.

“It’s important that we act to reduce children’s exposure to junk food marketing. One in four children are overweight or obese and we know most of those children will grow up to become overweight adults with a higher risk of developing some cancers**. Preventing weight gain and promoting healthy eating habits from a young age can reduce the risk of cancer later in life.

“Parents have the biggest role to play in encouraging their children to eat healthily but they have a tough job battling the multi million dollar food and advertising industries.   What we would like to see is advertising regulation that limits children’s exposure to junk food advertising during their favourite TV programs.

“Until we get tougher regulation, Fat Free TV gives parents the power to make healthier choices about what their children watch, allowing them to minimise their exposure to junk food advertising.”

Parents can learn more about junk food advertising and the Fat Free TV Guide at www.fatfreetv.com.au


Media Contacts:

Cancer Council NSW, Gina Murphy 0413 889283 ginam@nswcc.org.au

Cancer Council NSW, Luke Alexander 0413 886578 lukea@nswcc.org.au

 Notes to editors

  • The research was conducted by Cancer Council NSW and looked at 104 TV shows
  • The unhealthiest shows were:  

1- Saturday AFL (Channel 10)

2- Saturday Family Movie (Channel 9)

3- The X Factor (Channel 7)

4- Dancing with the Stars (Channel 7)

5- The Simpsons (Channel 10)

6- Saturday Family movie (Channel 10)

7- Sunrise (Channel 7)  

8- Junior Masterchef (Channel 10)

9- Two and a Half Men (Channel 9)

10- Talkin’ “˜bout your Generation (Channel 10)


  • Cancer Council NSW monitored popular TV shows in Sydney for 14 weeks between July 2010 and July 2011.
  •  Cancer Council NSW included other programs screened in the timeslots most popular for children, for example weekends, during primetime (6-9pm) and on weekday mornings (6-9am). For shows that are screened on a regular basis (e.g. Home and Away, or the news), up to 5 episodes of each show were analysed based on the highest rating episodes.
  • *McDermott L, O’Sullivan T, Stead M, Hastings G. International food advertising, pester power and its effects. International Journal of Advertising 2006; 25(4):513-539.  
  • **Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing obesity related cancers such as bowel, oesophageal, endometrial, kidney, pancreatic and some breast cancers.



Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.