Public health pulse: It’s time to protect kids from junk food advertising | AMA (WA)

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Public health pulse: It’s time to protect kids from junk food advertising

Monday June 20, 2022

Ainslie Satori, Obesity Prevention Manager, Cancer Council WA & Emma Groves, Obesity Policy Senior Coordinator, Cancer Council WA

The AMA (WA) has joined leading health and medical organisations in the State to call on the WA Government to implement a policy to restrict the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks on State Government owned property.

A previous campaign was conducted in November 2020, coinciding with the lead-up to the March 2021 WA State Election. Just prior to the election, the McGowan Government made a commitment that should they be re-elected, they would convene a taskforce to investigate such a policy.

To date, there has been no official announcement of the convening of this taskforce, or update on the work undertaken. We know these ads are harmful to kids’ health, so why are we still seeing them on buses, trains and buildings here in WA?

The timing and urgency for reinstating this campaign is to highlight the crucial nature of the issue, and that effective policies and guidelines already exist.

 

The campaign also aims to counter any potential industry lobbying against the proposed policy measures, and reaffirm community support for actions to protect children from unhealthy food and drink advertising.

The campaign is being coordinated by Cancer Council WA in partnership with Telethon Kids Institute, and has included to date:

  •  Targeted LinkedIn message ads to individuals who are positioned to influence State Members of Parliament and policy development.
  • Full-page print ad on 4 May in The West Australian.
  • Co-signed letters to all State Members of Parliament.
  • Question on Notice No. 665 asked in the Legislative Council on 6 April 2022 by Hon Dr Brad Pettitt to the Hon. Minister Amber-Jade Sanderson on the progress of policy.

We invite you to read the Joint Statement and Policy Brief or contact the team at ObesityPolicy@cancerwa.asn.au to find out more.

Chew on this!

  • 74 per cent of outdoor food advertising within 500m of Perth schools are for unhealthy (non-core) foods.
  • Perth primary schools were found to have an average of 25 outdoor food advertisements within 500m of the school boundary; secondary schools had 22; and K-12 schools had 417.
  • By 2026, the cost to the WA health system from obesity-related hospital admissions are estimated to reach $610 million a year if the State cannot halt the rise of obesity.
  • 71 per cent of Western Australian adults agree that advertising for unhealthy food and sugary drinks should not be allowed on public transport or state government-owned property such as printed or digital billboards or posters.
  • State revenue from total food advertising on Department of Transport sites is $1 million per year. Policies to remove unhealthy food advertising implemented in other states and international jurisdictions have not had a negative impact on government revenue, which has either remained stable, or increased