Cancer Council NSW and Public Health Association Australia call for removal of junk food marketing on NSW government property
By Cancer Council NSW
7 in 10 NSW adults concerned about outdoor junk food ads
Cancer Council NSW and the Public Health Association of Australia are today calling on the next NSW Government to remove unhealthy food marketing on government owned and controlled property such as public transport, with new Cancer Council NSW research showing an increase public support for government action on food marketing.
The latest Cancer Council NSW 2022 Community Survey on Cancer Prevention found that 71% of NSW adults were concerned about outdoor advertising promoting unhealthy foods, an increase from 64% in 2019.
“We’ve also seen a significant increase in the proportion of people supporting restrictions of unhealthy food marketing on government owned property such as buses and trains with 60% of people supporting government action in 2022, up from 55% in 2019,” Cancer Council NSW’s Director of Cancer Prevention and Advocacy, Anita Dessaix says.
“A healthy childhood is the foundation of a healthy life. However, this is all but impossible when children are constantly targeted by the food industry with unhealthy food and drink marketing when simply catching a train or bus to school. It is no coincidence that more than 80% of food ads in major train stations and buses have been found to be promoting unhealthy foods and drinks.
Adjunct Professor Terry Slevin, CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia says that in NSW almost 1 in 4 children are classified as overweight or obese with no sign of decline.
“If the next NSW Government wants to show leadership in obesity prevention, it must stop taking money from food companies that promote fast food and sugary drinks on public buses and trains our kids use to travel to school.
“Having excess body weight as an adult is a risk factor for 13 types of cancer, including, bowel, kidney, oesophagus, pancreas, endometrium and breast. It also increases the risk of other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
“Reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing is recognised as an important action to address the increase in obesity rates and the related health effects.
“The ACT, London, and Amsterdam have acted. We urge the next NSW Government to follow suit.”
Concerned Sydney parent, Hiba Jebeile, stated, “It worries me that my kids are bombarded with ads for junk food and sweet treats, because it sends the wrong message about what they should eat.
“They think sugary drinks and fast foods are the norm and nag me for those foods.
“The government has a responsibility to support parents to teach their kids healthy habits.”
“Our results show that the NSW community want government action to protect children from unhealthy marketing. They must start by removing unhealthy food marketing on government owned and controlled property,” concluded Cancer Council NSW’s Ms Dessaix.
The call to action comes ahead of the NSW Pre-Election Great Debate to be held on the evening of Monday 27 February featuring the current and shadow Health Ministers, as well as other key electoral candidates.