Junk food and alcohol ads scrapped by Queensland government

Queensland’s state government has announced it will ban junk food and alcohol ads at government-owned outdoor sites in an effort to combat childhood obesity.

The restrictions for out-of-home ads featuring high fat, salt and sugar products, or alcohol, will be rolled out in consultation with the advertising industry, according to health minister Steven Miles.

Health minister Steven Miles said the ban will improve Queenslanders’ health

Miles said the decision is in response to a quarter of Queensland children being overweight or obese, and unhealthy food and drink constituting 37% of Queensland’s energy intake (with that percentage jumping to 45% for teenagers aged 14-18).

“As a priority, we have set an ambitious target to increase the proportion of adults and children with a healthy body weight by 10% by 2026,” the minister said.

“We spend millions of dollars promoting healthy, happy living; yet we allow ads on government spaces and near our schools and hospitals that are not in line with that message. We, as a government, need to lead by example and that’s exactly what these ad restrictions will achieve.”

Miles said that research indicates that junk food marketing is linked to childhood obesity, in the same way that tobacco ads increased the uptake of smoking.

Diabetes Queensland CEO Sturt Eastwood applauded the advertising ban, calling the announcement “real leadership”.

“Constant exposure to images of unhealthy food normalises those choices in our everyday lives. We all understand there are foods we should only eat ‘sometimes’, but that’s hard to remember when you’re constantly seeing ads emotionally promoting these foods on trains, bus stops, roadside billboards, even in hospitals and healthcare facilities, several times a day or more,” Eastwood said.

“Our children travelling to and from school are influenced by this advertising and we can do so much better.”

However, deputy opposition leader Tim Mander slammed the decision, claiming the Labor party is trusting “spin doctors” while “ignoring real doctors”.

“Instead of fixing the hospital crisis, Labor has dreamt up a knee-jerk, nanny-state initiative,” said Mander.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk should be worrying about hospital beds, not billboards. Labor promised an anti-obesity commission in 2015, but that was another media stunt too. If Labor wanted to tackle obesity, it wouldn’t have cut $300,000 from the preventive health budget.”

Minister Miles said the government is currently in talks with the outdoor advertising industry about how the restrictions will be phased in.


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