New Zealand, Parents want ban on television advertising of unhealthy foods to children, survey shows

International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance

ISSN: 0952-6862

Article publication date: 13 June 2008

Keywords

Citation

(2008), "New Zealand, Parents want ban on television advertising of unhealthy foods to children, survey shows", International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Vol. 21 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijhcqa.2008.06221dab.008

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


New Zealand, Parents want ban on television advertising of unhealthy foods to children, survey shows

Article Type: News and views From: International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, Volume 21, Issue 4

Keywords: Health promotion, Chronic disease prevention, Public information

The Chronic Disease Prevention Peak Group is urging the Government to take notice of survey results that show a large majority of New Zealand parents and grandparents would like to ban television advertising to children of unhealthy food and drink products.

Eighty-two percent of the survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that advertising unhealthy products “using ads appealing to children” should be stopped.

Welcoming the survey results, a spokesman for the Group, Professor Norman Sharpe, said: “There is a strong mandate from parents and grandparents to severely curtail the advertising of unhealthy food and drink products to children, especially via the powerful medium of television.”

“The current obesity epidemic places our children at greatly increased future risk of chronic diseases. As a community we have an ethical responsibility to create a safer and healthier environment for our children. One crucial aspect of this is ensuring healthy food choices for children and protecting them from the marketing of unhealthy foods.”

The nationwide telephone survey of 401 parents and grandparents of children up to the age of 13, chosen to represent nine representative groups and age bands, was undertaken by Phoenix Research on behalf of The Chronic Disease Prevention Peak Group, which is comprised of the National Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society, the Stroke Foundation, Diabetes New Zealand and Te Hotu Manawa Maori.

Ninety-five percent of those surveyed considered the number of children in New Zealand who are overweight or obese to be a significant problem.

More than half (56 per cent) of parents and grandparents felt that the current television advertising of food and drink products should not be allowed to continue, while 25 per cent were happy with the status quo and 19 per cent were undecided.

Grandparents took a harder line than parents when asked about current advertising, with only 18 per cent of grandparents supporting the status quo, compared with 30 per cent of parents.

While approximately four out of five respondents agreed with bans on advertising ‘unhealthy’ products, there was less agreement when respondents were asked about a blanket ban on all television advertising of food and drink products to children. Just under half (49 per cent) wanted a complete ban on all food and drink products, healthy or not, during children’s viewing hours, and 45 per cent wanted to ban all such advertisements that were particularly appealing to children.

Just over half of all parents and grandparents surveyed (52 per cent) felt that their children’s requests for particular food or drink products were “moderately” or “very” influenced by advertising. Just under half (45 per cent) felt that advertising influenced their children’s requests only a “little”; or “not at all”.

Parents with children under the age of four years were more likely to say that advertising had no influence at all on their children’s food and drink requests (26 per cent), compared with 17 per cent of all parents.

When asked about the advertising of food and drink products to children on other media-radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema and outdoor posters – the majority of parents and grandparents surveyed (between 60 per cent and 75 per cent, depending on the medium) wanted to see food or drink advertising to children reduced or banned, no matter which of these other media were used.

“Given the increasing numbers of overweight and obese children in New Zealand, we urge the Government to give serious consideration to the survey results and to put in place some effective restrictions on food and drink advertising,” says Professor Sharpe.

For more information: www.nhf.org.nz