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Cancer Council NSW launches new Our Kids, Our Call Campaign to protect Aussie kids from the harmful effects of junk food marketing

14th September 2017 - Cancer prevention

Junk food advertisers are targeting Australian children with manipulative marketing that undermines their health.

Today Cancer Council NSW launches ‘Our Kids, Our Call’ – a new campaign calling on the government to take action and limit junk food advertising to children.

Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW, Wendy Watson, said Australian children should be free from the manipulative tactics of junk food advertising.

“Aussie kids are being bombarded with unhealthy food ads everywhere. Advertising influences what foods children like, what they pester their parents to buy and what they want to eat. We recently analysed the ads during popular prime time shows including Channel 9’s Australian Ninja Warrior, which debuted in July 2017.

“The grand final had over 10 junk food ads an hour and marketing tactics by the show’s major sponsor, fast food giant KFC, was used heavily throughout the show. This included frequent shots of the audience waving their ‘KFC branded foam fingers’, large digital banners of the logo appearing during a competitor’s ninja run and the slogan frequently shown on the screen.

Other reality shows analysed included MasterChef Australia and The Voice Australia.  MasterChef Australia was ranked the top program most watched by children aged 0-14 years by a recent report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and our analysis found children were exposed to an average of 7 junk food ads per hour.  The Voice Australia, which was ranked second most watched program by children, fared even worse with an average 9 junk food ads an hour, compared to only 1 healthy food ad an hour,” said Ms Watson.

According to a recent NSW Ministry of Health report, NSW is experiencing unprecedented levels of overweight and obesity. The report reveals that only 1 in 20 children eat the recommended amount of vegetables daily, with 1 in 2 children eating an unhealthy snack every day.

“What children eat is reflected by what they see advertised on TV and its skewed towards junk food” said Ms Watson, adding  that “preventing weight gain in children is extremely important as the majority of overweight or obese children will go on to be overweight in adulthood.”

“We know that being overweight or obese increases the risk of 11 different types of cancer. And while we all know about the dangers of smoking and sun exposure, evidence now shows that being overweight, not doing enough physical activity, eating too much red and processed meat and not eating enough fruit and vegetables cause nearly as many cancer cases as smoking.

“By getting behind this Cancer Council NSW CanAct campaign, the community can help address the high rates of childhood obesity in NSW. We are asking parents and families across the state to join us to protect our kids from manipulative junk food advertising. They’re Our Kids, it’s Our Call,” added Ms Watson.

Currently the food industry has their own voluntary regulation system which decides whether or not their advertising targets children. To find out how to best tackle this issue and help you and your child set up healthy habits for life – join the Our Kids, Our Call campaign at: 

– ENDS –

Media Contacts

Deahna Voulgaris / / 02 9334 1871 / 0431 727 080

Notes to editor

Table of popular shows analysed by Cancer Council NSW


Average junk food ads/hour

Average healthy food ads/hour

The Voice Australia Grand Final

Episode aired: 2 July



MasterChef Australia

Episode aired:  16 July



Australian Ninja Warrior Grand Final

Episode aired: 25 July




NSW Ministry of Health report: Centre for Epidemiology and Evidence. What NSW children eat and drink. Report of the Chief Health Officer 2017, Population and Public Health Division.  Sydney: NSW Ministry of Health, 2017.

To view the full report, visit:

Australian Communications and Media Authority report: Commonwealth of Australia (Australian Communications and Media Authority) 2017. Children’s television viewing and multi-screen behaviour.  Analysis of 2005-16 OxTAM audience data and 2017 survey of parents, carers and guardians.

To view the full report, visit:

About Cancer Council NSW’s CanAct Community and Our Kids, Our Call

CanAct is a community of thousands of advocates with the passion and power to change what politicians do about cancer.

Our Kids, Our Call is a campaign led by Cancer Council’s CanAct Community to stop junk food advertisers targeting our kids with manipulative advertising that creates unhealthy eating habits and sets them up for a lifetime of poor health.


Cancer prevention