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Call for Information & Support

Health professionals

New research has shown that children’s cumulative exposure to junk food advertising is associated with higher intake of junk food in Australian children[i].

Australian children aged 12-17 report seeing junk food advertising in multiple settings including social media, attending or watching televised sport and on public transport.

The study found children who recalled more junk food ads and were aware of more junk food ads were more likely to have tried an advertised product, asked their parent to purchase it and consumed these highly processed, unhealthy food and drinks.

“This study builds on the overwhelming existing evidence that exposure to unhealthy food and drink advertising is a major driver of children’s consumption of highly processed food and drinks, putting them at higher risk of chronic disease including cancer later in life” said Cancer Council WA Director Cancer Prevention and Research Melissa Ledger.

Cancer Council WA in partnership with The Telethon Kids Institute, joined by other leading health and community agencies are renewing their urgent call to the WA Government to implement a policy to restrict junk food advertising on WA Government owned and managed property.

Such a policy is being proposed in South Australia and already exists in the ACT. Investigating a policy was an election commitment of the Labor Government in 2019 when Premier Cook was the Health Minister.

“There is now a great opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership in protecting children’s health and wellbeing by taking a step towards reducing their exposure to junk food ads” said Ms Ledger.

Cancer Council WA has previously commissioned an economic evaluation which looked at health savings should the WA Government implement a policy to restrict unhealthy food and drink advertising of WA Government property. The analysis found over a 30 year time period the policy would save $166 million in health care savings and have a net benefit of $1.9 billion dollars across the economy and more West Aussies living in good health.

We have the evidence that this policy will work and the Western Australian community support the policy. It’s time to protect kids from junk food ads.

For more information:

[i] Gascoyne, C., Scully, M., and Morley, B. Is food and drink advertising across various settings associated with dietary behaviours and intake among Australian adolescents? Findings from a national cross-sectional survey.  Health Promot J Austral. 2024