Foods such as Kit Kats, Tiny Teddies, Smarties and Coco
Pops, which are being advertised to kids as extraordinary health products by
private food companies, have reportedly been identified as unhealthy.
An analysis by NSW Cancer Council states that food companies are advertising
products to children because they are classified as healthy by their own
It also found that 63 percent of food that appeared in television
advertisements was considered unhealthy under Food Standards Australia New
Zealand nutrient profiling. Fast foods including McDonald's Chicken N' Cheese
burger and KFC's Mint Choc Krusher are also being advertised to children
despite not being children's meals.
Researchers examined food advertisements that showed on television between
6am and 9pm over a two-week period to come to this conclusion. They discovered
that companies which had signed up to an industry-regulated marketing code were
still advertising food that would be considered unhealthy by government
Interestingly, the companies that had not signed up to the voluntary code
were more likely to promote healthy food than those that were signatories.
The findings have sparked calls for mandatory regulation in line with
government standards. The Australian Communications Media Authority does not
permit companies to advertise unhealthy food to children from 7am to 8.30am and
4pm to 8.30pm on Monday to Friday, or 7am to 8.30pm on weekends.
Study author Clare Hughes said this would be more effective
in stopping high-sugar and fat foods being marketed to children rather than
relying on food companies to comply with voluntary codes and self-regulation.
'The voluntary initiatives can be a bit of an advertising
spin in themselves,' Ms Hughes said.
'Children are watching television at times when these
initiatives don't apply.'
The NSW Cancer Council campaigns against junk food advertising to children
because of the associated cancers linked with obesity, such as kidney, bowel,
pancreas, post-menopausal breast, endometrial and esophegal cancer.
The analysis has been published in the industry
journal Nutrition and Dietetics