The Heart Foundation has released a LiveLighter study which found that 78 per cent of ACT parents think companies should stop advertising junk food to children.
The survey questioned 327 ACT parents about junk food marketing to children. Findings include:
- A majority of parents believed advertising influenced their children to eat fast food (61 per cent), sweet or sugary foods (62 per cent) and sugary drinks (61 per cent).
- Getting kids to eat fruit and vegetables was difficult for 58 per cent of participants
- The majority of parents (78 per cent) agreed that companies should stop advertising to kids, 8 per cent disagree and 14 per cent said they were neutral.
- Just over half of the respondents (53 per cent) believed advertising targeting children has a negative impact on their children’s health.
Heart Foundation chief executive officer Tony Stubbs commented: “What we’re hearing is that parents feel that their efforts to raise healthy children are being undermined by an environment where healthy messages are drowned out by unhealthy promotions and it is difficult to get their children to eat a balanced diet.
“I think it’s very powerful for parents in the community to say, ‘Look, it’s a big issue, it’s a problem for us to be able to feed our kids healthy foods because they’re just getting so much pressure from advertising around these particular products’.
“And they’re (advertisers) doing it in a clever way. There’s online advertising associated with particular games. It’s involved in sport. Local sporting groups get sponsorship through some of these companies. It’s pretty invasive around where children live and go to school, so it’s having a big influence.”
However the survey has been attacked by The Australian Food and Grocery Council for only surveying 327 people. The council has also argued that countries which have banned junk food advertising, such as Canada, have not seen a drop in childhood obesity levels.
This research comes after a US Journal of Pediatrics study found that junk food ads make kids want to eat unhealthy food and the ACT is recently banning public transport in Canberra from showing junk food, gambling and alcohol advertising,