Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Aussies support junk food crackdown: study:

Most Australians would support "traffic light" labelling on foods and banning junk food advertising during children's television viewing times, a new study shows.
By Motherpedia
Date: August 03 2012
Tags: food, diet, children,
Editor Rating:

The study found 87 per cent of 1,500 Australians surveyed would support colour-coding on packaged food to indicate healthier options.

Of those surveyed, 83 per cent agreed with a ban on advertising junk foods on TV during popular children viewing times, but only 56 per cent supported a total ban on advertising unhealthy foods.

The study by the Cancer Council Victoria and Obesity Policy Coalition, published in the Health Promotion Journal of Australia, questioned the main grocery shopper in 1,511 households nationwide.

People aged 18 to 64 took part but those who nominated themselves as the household's grocery shopper were usually women aged between 35 to 54 years.

Most participants (84 per cent) were also in favour of kilojoule information displays at fast-food outlets and 87 per cent supported regulations for food companies to reduce the fat, sugar and salt content of processed foods.

Almost all of those surveyed - 97 per cent - supported restricting junk food marketing to children via email and mobile phone text messages, while 93 per cent thought it should be restricted in magazines and 89 per cent supported restrictions on websites.

Taxing unhealthy food was not as popular, unless the money was used to make healthy food more affordable, with 71 per cent supporting this option.

The study's authors said the research showed there was strong public support for tougher food labelling and advertising regulations.

"There's high support for government to intervene, but particularly high support among those new (technology) platforms," said co-author Jane Martin from the Obesity Policy Coalition.

"Children are not being adequately protected, and parents are limited in their ability to intervene, particularly with new technologies such as mobile phones and computers," she told AAP.

Front-of-pack colour-coded food labelling systems have been recommended by a recent Australian government review, with a decision expected by the end of 2012.

New rules about marketing fast food to children on television were introduced in August 2009, but a review last year found the voluntary code had failed to reduce the number of junk food ads.

Meanwhile, the federal government's Food and Health Dialogue group encourages companies to reduce the amount of salt in foods such as bread, soups, sauces and pies.

Kellogg's recently announced it would reduce the amount of salt in its cornflakes and rice bubbles by 20 per cent.

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