Food marketing to children
PANORG is actively involved in conducting research on food marketing to children. To date, this research has focussed on understanding the extent and nature of children’s exposure to food marketing, and identifying options for policy change to reduce this exposure.
This research is underpinned by the findings from numerous systematic reviews and individual research studies indicating that children’s exposure to food marketing (most research is on television advertising) is associated with increased consumption of energy-dense ‘junk’ foods generally, and advertised foods in particular.
Policy changes to limit children’s exposure to food marketing are the subject of debate and controversy in Australia and internationally. Some countries, such as the UK, have introduced significant restrictions.
Industry self-regulation of television food advertising: evaluation studies
Hebden L, King L, Grunseit A, Kelly B, Chapman K. (2011) Advertising of fast food to children on Australian television: the impact of industry self-regulation. Med J Aust, 195(1): 20–24
King L, Hebden L, Grunseit A, Kelly B, Chapman K, Venugopal K. (2011) Industry self regulation of television food advertising: responsible or responsive? International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 6(2-2): e390-e398
Two further papers provide a detailed analysis of the current Australian industry self-regulatory initiatives:
Hebden L, King L, Kelly B, Chapman K, Innes-Hughes C. (2010) Industry self-regulation of food marketing to children: reading the fine print. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 21(3): 229-235
Hebden L, King L, Kelly B, Chapman K, Innes-Hughes C, Gunatillaka N. (2010) Regulating the types of foods and beverages marketed to Australian children: how useful are food industry commitments? Nutrition & Dietetics, 67: 258-266
Hebden L, King L, Kelly B. Art of persuasion: an analysis of techniques used to market foods to children. Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health 2011; 47(11): 776-78
Hebden L, King L, Kelly B, Innes C, Chapman K. (2011) A menagerie of promotional characters: promotion of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods to children on food packaging. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 43(5): 349-355
Kelly B, Hattersley L, King L, Flood V. (2009) Smoke and mirrors: nutrition content claims used to market unhealthy food. Nutrition and Dietetics, 66(1): 62-64
Research priorities and gaps
A recent publication systematically presents a strategic approach to research on food marketing to children and describes research priorities and gaps:
Chapman K, Kelly B, King L. (2009) Using a research framework to identify knowledge gaps in research on food marketing to children in Australia. Aust NZ J Public Health, 33(3): 253-257
A recent study shows that parents support restrictions on food marketing to children:
Kelly B, Chapman K, Hardy L, King L, Farrell L. (2009) Parental awareness and attitudes of food marketing to children: a community attitudes survey of parents in NSW, Australia. J Paediatrics & Child Health, 45(9): 493-497
Inappropriate food marketing
Inappropriate food marketing refers to a range of ways in which food marketing occurs, in ways which undermine public health goals to promote and protect health and prevent chronic disease.
Kelly B, Chapman K, King L, Hebden L. (2011) Trends in food advertising to children on free-to-air television in Australia. Aust NZ J Public Health, 35(2): 131-134
The National Preventative Taskforce commissioned a paper on this topic, as part of the development of the National Preventative Health Strategy. See website
Investigating policy options
Lesley King was a member of the WHO Ad-hoc Expert Group on Marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. The recommendations from the WHO Ad-hoc Expert Committee formed the basis of a resolution passed by the World Health Assembly in May 2010.
Food company sponsorship of junior sports
PANORG is contributing to a program of research on sports sponsorship by food companies.
Kelly B, Baur L, Bauman AE, King L, Chapman K, Smith BJ. Food and drink sponsorship of children’s sport in Australia: who pays? Health Promot Int 2010; 26(2): 188-95
Kelly B, Baur L, Bauman A, Chapman K, King L, Smith BJ. Examining opportunities for healthy eating promotion at children’s sports clubs. Aust NZ J Public Health 2010; 34(6): 583-588
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, King L, Chapman K, Smith BJ. (2010) Examining Opportunities for Health Promotion in Children’s Sport: a Survey of Sports Club Officials. Prevention Research Collaboration and Cancer Council NSW: Sydney. View report
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, Saleh S, Smith BJ, King L, Chapman K. Role modelling unhealthy behaviours: an analysis of food and drink sponsorship of peak sporting organisations. Health Promot J Austr 2011; 22(1): 72-75
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, King L, Chapman K, Smith BJ. “Food company sponsors are kind, generous and cool”: (Mis)conceptions of junior sports players. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011; 8:95 (doi:10.1186/479-5868-8-95)
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, King L. Tobacco and alcohol sponsorship of sporting events provide insights about how food and beverage sponsorship may affect children’s health. Health Promot J Austr 2011; 22(2): 91-6
Kelly B, Chapman K, Baur LA, Bauman AE, King L, Smith BJ. (2011) Building solutions to protect children from unhealthy food and drink sport sponsorship. Cancer Council NSW and Prevention Research Collaboration: Sydney. View report
Kelly B, Baur AL, Bauman AE, King L, Chapman K, Smith BJ. (2011) Promoting Health and nutrition through sport: attitudes of the junior sporting community. Prevention Research Collaboration and Cancer Council NSW; Sydney. View report
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, King L,Chapman K, Smith BJ. Restricting unhealthy food sponsorship: attitudes of the sporting community. Health Policy 2011; (available online 14 October (doi:10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.10.004)
Kelly B, Baur LA, Bauman AE, Smith BJ, Saleh S, King LA, Chapman K. (2011) Health promotion in sport: an analysis of peak sporting organisations’ health policies (Editorial). J Sci Med Sport, 13(6): 566-577