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Cancer Council WA has partnered with Telethon Kids Institute to receive funding from Healthway to deliver a Rapid Obesity Policy Translation Project. A key strategy of this project is to commission research to build the case for key policy recommendations that are likely to prevent obesity in Western Australia.

The first project, ‘Junk-Filled Neighbourhoods’, is looking to provide more evidence to inform and support the Sustainable Health Review recommendation of banning junk food advertisements from State-owned property, including public transport.

Dr Gina Trapp and her team have been generating robust evidence describing, benchmarking and quantifying the volume and nature of all outdoor food advertising, within varying distances around Perth schools.

Using the INFORMAS protocol, all Local Government Areas (LGAs) located within the Perth metro area (n=32) were stratified by population density and socio-economic status (SES).

Sixteen of the LGAs were then randomly selected from various socio-economic backgrounds and population density strata. Four schools (two primary and two secondary) were selected from each LGA, providing a total sample size of 64 schools (n = 32 primary, n = 32 secondary).

An area within a 500 metre radial buffer, around the school boundary, was scanned for all outdoor advertisements. Trained research staff systematically canvassed the area on foot, identifying all outdoor advertisements defined as stationary objects containing either a recognisable logo and/or an intended message.

The content of the outdoor advertisements was then coded, according to whether they were advertising a food or non-food product. They were then categorised into core, non-core or miscellaneous (e.g. tea or coffee) products1.

A total of 5639 advertisements were identified, with 30 per cent of those being food advertisements. Of the 1708 advertisements for food products, 74 per cent were for unhealthy foods (including alcohol). Of the 44 food advertisements identified on bus stops, 86 per cent were for unhealthy foods (including alcohol).

The findings indicate there is a high volume of outdoor food advertising around Perth schools and that the majority of these food advertisements are for non-core products, including alcohol.

1 Food advertisements were categorised using the INFORMAS protocol and the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating.