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Junk food marketing to kids: action urgently needed

Thursday 18 February 2021 3:18pm

Research by Professor Louise Signal, director of the Kids'Cam project and Head of the Department of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington, has featured in a recent Otago Daily Times editorial, which echoes Professor Signal's call for action on junk food marketing to children.

Professor Signal's groundbreaking work using wearable cameras to record what children see and do during a typical day, has revealed that children view on average 27 junk food adverts every day. 

Most recently the Kids'Cam team were able to show that 12-year-old children snack on unhealthy food and beverages five times a day, with healthy snacks much less likely to be consumed.

The "Time to Change Marketing to Children" editorial in the Otago Daily Times also makes reference to a recent Consumer survey, in which seventy-eight percent of respondents agreed that our tamariki are exposed to too many adverts for unhealthy food and drinks. About three-quarters of respondents also agreed that these adverts were contributing to childhood obesity.

It has been estimated that for every dollar (US) the World Health Organisation spends on non-communicable disease prevention (such as obesity), the food industry spends about $500 promoting processed food. Restricting junk food marketing to children is one of a number of strategies that could be employed to help address New Zealand's soaring childhood obesity rates, which are currently the second highest in the OECD.

Read the ODT editorial

Time to change marketing to children, Otago Daily Times, 16 February, 2021

Find out more about Kids'Cam