Should junk food advertising be banned?
The Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia (PHAIWA) has urged the WA state government to ban junk food advertising on government property, including trains, buses, bus shelters, billboards and sporting venues.
Junk food and drinks low in nutrients and high in kilojoules, saturated fat and added sugar and salt are are not a necessary component of any diet.
However, junk food comprises 41 per cent of children’s and 34 per cent of adult’s food intake.
Are we aim of the band is primarily aimed at reducing the exposure advertising to children, older people will also benefit.
“The advertisements are aimed at everybody, not just children. They remind people of food items they might like. It is similar to the two fruit, five veg campaign; it keeps reminding people,' says PHAIWA Director Associate Professor Christina Pollard.
"Older people, especially those living alone, often lose the energy and enthusiasm to cook healthy meals, relying on prepared ‘ready meals’ which just needs reheating.
“Ready meals are sometimes good. They can be low in sugar and fat and with adequate fibre, but the temptation is to eat frozen pizza, pies, biscuits or sweets that are high in fat.
“The reason we are pushing this now is that we have a State government that is big on public health. Australian states have control over advertising and the WA government can use its power to encourage the public to eat well."
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) older Australians the number of obese older Australians has trebled over the past 20 years. Older Australians are, on average, about 6-7 kg heavier than their counterparts were 20 years ago.
Experts say unhealthy diets, leading to overweight and obesity are the greatest risk factors for death and disease in Australia and globally. Junk food and sugary drinks increase toxic fat and put people at risk of 13 types of cancer, type II diabetes, heart disease and other chronic illnesses.
One of the recommendations in the Sustainable Health Review released by the WA Government in 2019 is to ban unhealthy food and drink promotions on all state premises.
London, Amsterdam and the Australian Capital Territory already ban advertising unhealthy foods and beverages on publicly owned assets.
Do you think fewer junk food advertisements would positively contribute to the national diet? How much junk food, or foods with low nutritional value and high in kilojoules saturated fat and added sugar and salt do you eat?