The NSW Government State Transit body has been slammed by the Cancer Council for pushing an anti-obesity agenda while continually advertising junk food on public transport.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the government has spent the $25 million this financial year on tackling childhood obesity, while simultaneously taking huge amounts of cash from junk food advertisers.
Speaking on the issue, Cancer Council NSW nutrition program manager Wendy Watson called the government’s actions ‘contradictory’.
“By accepting this advertising and money, its contradicting the work that they’re doing,” the council’s nutrition program manager Wendy Watson said.
“About 21 per cent of NSW children aged 5-16 are now overweight or obese, and if they carry that weight into adulthood that puts them at risk of 12 different cancers, as well as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.”
“There’s so much evidence that advertising influences children’s eating behaviours – what they want to eat, what they pester their parents to buy,” Watson added.
As a result, the Cancer Council, as well as other health-focused councils, have vowed to put pressure on the government leading up to the next election so scrap junk food advertising public transport and other state-owned inventory.
Watson said: “Junk food advertising is skewing what children are learning in school and from their parents about eating.”
“The NSW government’s strategy takes a lifespan approach providing schools and childcare centres with support and information to promote informed choices towards healthy eating and active living,” she said.
“NSW is leading the way as the first state in Australia to remove sugar-sweetened drinks from food outlets for staff and visitors in our public health facilities.”
In a recent study led by the Cancer Council, 292 food advertisements were identified, 78 of which were on trains, 214 on buses.
Of these, the council found 82 per cent of the ads were related to confectionary and discretionary food, including soft drinks, chips and ice-cream.
B&T has contacted the NSW State Transit body for further comment.