MORE than 500 people on the Mornington Peninsula have joined 10,000 organisations and individuals across Victoria in a campaign to protect children from unhealthy food and drinks advertising.
Cancer Council Victoria’s Food Fight is calling on communities to protect children from junk food advertising in places where children play or learn.
The campaign has garnered support from local organisations including the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, Peninsula Health, Frankston Council and The Community Plate, which are all working on strengthening the local food system and connecting people with food that is local, healthy and abundant.
Chair of peninsula-based The Community Plate Action Group, Tanita Northcott, said the Food Fight campaign was an important opportunity to improve food environments to help support children to grow up healthy.
“Healthy environments are key to supporting healthy eating. With the absence of unhealthy food and drink advertising from public transport and around schools, we can continue to build a strong and vibrant healthy food culture and food system for upcoming generations, free from the influence of this powerful advertising,” she said.
Other organisations involved in the Cancer Council Victoria campaign include VicHealth, Public Health Association of Australia, Nutrition Australia, Parents’ Voice and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, with all calling for the removal of unhealthy food and drink advertising within 500 metres of schools and on public transport and public transport infrastructure (stations, platforms, stops and shelters).
The campaign comes as new data shows spending on outdoor advertising – including on billboards, public transport, bus and tram stops – for unhealthy food and drinks in Victoria reached almost $10 million between April 2021 and February 2022.
Spending on advertising for unhealthy take away, including ice-creams and iced confectionary and sugary drinks, made up the top three categories in the sector. The spend on unhealthy meals at $4.3 million was more than double that of both desserts ($1.865m) and sugary drinks ($1.863m).
Jane Martin, executive manager obesity program at Cancer Council Victoria, said the amount of spending highlighted the magnitude of the problem, and there was an urgent need for governments to use their power to protect Victorian children from advertising by the processed food industry.
“The processed food industry is spending millions of dollars on advertising in public places, so our kids are surrounded by this on their routes to school, on public transport and as they go about their lives,” she said.
“Every day they are bombarded with at least 25 ads for unhealthy food and drink. We know it has an impact on what they eat, want to eat and ask for, and we should be doing everything in our power to protect them from this influence.
“The community response to Food Fight is proof that thousands of Victorians feel the same and that protecting our kids from this harmful marketing should be a priority for government.”
To learn more visit cancervic.org.au/foodfight