Limiting children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing

Dietitians Australia is commending the Australian Government for acting towards limiting unhealthy food marketing to children, with the launch of the public consultation on the feasibility study of policy and regulatory options now unveiled.

“We have long been advocating for regulatory and policy action on marketing tactics that incentivise the intake of non-nutritive foods, particularly marketing tactics that target vulnerable populations, including children,” Dietitians Australia President Tara Diversi said.

“Accredited Practising Dietitians work closely with families and their children to establish positive relationships with food and understand intently how challenging it is for families to navigate nutritious choices when influenced by cleverly crafted food marketing campaigns.

“Australian children deserve to be supported to build strong nutrition habits, and continuous exposure to harmful marketing compromises this.

“This consultation and subsequent study are important first steps in determining the most appropriate regulatory actions and policies for Australia to set our children up for healthy and nourished lives.

“The evidence shows we cannot rely on voluntary or self-regulating systems for success, and we’re advocating that any Government led food system regulation must be underpinned by mandates, well-monitored and enforced.

“Regulating and enforcing policy mechanisms around the way food is marketed is just one strategy we have available to improve nutrition in this country.

“To have the greatest impact on health, we need a coordinated, multi-strategy approach to nutrition, which includes the way food is made and formulated, labelled, priced and distributed across the country.

“We’re eagerly awaiting the development of Australia’s new National Nutrition Policy, which will outline the nutrition roadmap for us to take as a nation, and we are urging the Government to ensure ongoing funding for its action plan is guaranteed.

“Work is also underway, involving Accredited Practising Dietitians with the National Health and Medical Research Council to update the Australian Dietary Guidelines.

“Emphasis on preventive health and education-based nutrition campaigns to promote the new dietary guidelines is the advertising we would like to see more prominently in Australia in the years ahead.

“We encourage Accredited Practising Dietitians who we know can offer a wealth of knowledge and evidence to consider making an individual submission as part of the consultation, together we can lead Australia towards a more healthful approach to the marketing of food,” Ms Diversi said.

The consultation will run for a 6-week period, from Friday 2 February – Friday 15 March 2024.

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