Parents blow whistle on junk food sponsorship of sport

Children’s health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, backs the call for Australian Sporting organisations to cut ties with companies that promote junk food to kids through sport.

A report released yesterday by the Obesity Policy Coalition revealed that children watching cricket last summer could have been exposed to 6.5 hours of junk food marketing.

Junk food sponsorship of sport continues to be a major issue for parents. Campaign Manager for The Parents’ Jury, Dimity Gannon said, “It seems senseless that children are being encouraged to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle, yet when they do play or watch sport, they’re exposed to products and images that contradict this message.

“There is little doubt that promotions for fast food and soft drink influence children’s food choices and often undermine parents’ attempts to provide children with a healthy diet. Food and beverage companies target children through sport because it is effective and hugely profitable. It is no surprise that the report revealed T20 matches, which are a favourite with kids, had the most junk food ads, with over 1000 mentions in one match.” Ms Gannon said.

Health groups including The Obesity Policy Coalition, Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia – Vic and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention wrote to Wally Edwards, the Chairman of the Board of Cricket Australia, calling on the organisation to phase out its sponsorship arrangements with unhealthy brands.

The Parents Jury would like to take this a step further and call on all sporting organisations at a national, state and club level to phase out junk food sponsorship in favour of sponsors that promote a healthy lifestyle.

“It would be great to see sporting organisations take it upon themselves to transition to healthier sponsorship arrangements but if they don’t act swiftly, governments needs to step in and restrict this avenue of marketing, as was done effectively with tobacco”, Ms Gannon said.

Contact: Angela Mallon 0404 570 525

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