My Healthy Kids Advertising Bill 2023 aims to protect children from junk food marketing by removing ads from TV and radio between the hours of 6am and 930pm. My Bill would also place an outright ban on paid junk food marketing on social media and other online environments.
My Bill has the support of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Dietitians Australia, Diabetes Australia, the Cancer Council, the Food for Health Alliance, the Public Health Association of Australia, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians and The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
Why is the Bill needed?
- A quarter (24%) of Australian children are obese or overweight, while research shows 63% of Australian adults are either overweight or obese.
- Obesity is one of the leading causes of chronic health diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, kidney disease, some forms of cancer and heart disease.
- The National Obesity Strategy found obesity costs the Australian health system $11.8 billion per year and this could rise to $87.7 billion by 2032 if nothing is done
- There is community support for this measure – polling by The Australia Institute found two-thirds (66%) believe junk food advertising should be banned during children’s viewing hours.
Why regulate junk food advertising?
- Research shows there is a direct link between junk food advertising to children and childhood obesity.
- The average child aged 5 to 8 years old is exposed to at least 827 unhealthy food advertisements on television each year. Another study suggested children see an average of up to 168 junk food ads every week, and 100 of which do not meet nutrient profiling criteria.
- More than $550 million is spent on advertising food and non-alcoholic drinks in Australia, with the majority of promoted products high in fat, sugar, and salt. See the National
Obesity Strategy report page 38.
- Research from 2018, suggests restricting junk food advertising on TV between the hours of 6 am and 9.30 pm would result in $778 million in healthcare savings over the lifetime of the 2010 Australian population.
- ABS data shows 40% of kids aged 5-14 spend between 10 and 19 hours a week on “screen-based activities” and 24% spend over 20 hours a week watching TV and scrolling online.
Do any other countries regulate junk food advertising, and does it work?
- Approximately 40 countries including the UK, Ireland, Chile, Norway, Mexico, Thailand, and South Korea, already have or are planning to regulate junk food advertising.
- In Chile, where junk food advertising is banned on TV from 6am to 10pm, there has been a 73% drop in children’s exposure to junk food ads. While a study of grocery purchasing habits founds there was a 24% decrease in calories purchased in the first year of the ban.