School’s Out – Parents expect more from new marketing policy

Parents’ Voice welcomes the acknowledgement by the Outdoor Media Association (OMA) that advertising unhealthy food and drink is contributing to Australian’s obesity epidemic, but wants further commitment from the industry and governments to better protect children.

The OMA has announced its new Health and Wellbeing Policy, committing to restricting unhealthy food advertising around schools and providing advertising space for campaigns supporting healthy diets and active lifestyles.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager of Parents’ Voice said: “We welcome this announcement. Unfortunately, it does not go far enough. We ask the industry to extend this policy to all outdoor advertising spaces as that is the only way we can ensure children’s exposure to this harmful advertising is limited. 

“Additionally, the decision to allow unhealthy food and drink that receive a Health Star Rating above 3.5 in areas heavily populated by children, is not in keeping with parent expectations. There are many foods that currently rate above 3.5 which should not be consumed regularly as part of a healthy diet.”

The new policy comes after calls from public health organisations, including Parents’ Voice, for governments to better regulate unhealthy food and drink advertising that targets children. 

The annual Fame and Shame Awards organised by Parents’ Voice highlight the failure of the current self-regulatory advertising environment.

Since 2017, parents have highlighted problematic outdoor advertising as part of these awards. The 2019 ‘winner’ was PepsiCo, for their Spiderman and Doritos billboards. Such ads, located in busy train stations, bombard kids with unhealthy food advertising and would be allowed under this new policy.

Alice Pryor added: “For over 10 years parents have together shone a light on the unhealthy food and drink marketing to children that is permitted under the current rules. It is clear that government legislation, not further self-regulation, is needed to protect Aussie kids. It’s time we put our children’s health before profits.”


Media contacts: 


Evie Dartnell 0401 596 797

Alice Pryor 0416 219 261                

Note to editors:

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth and YMCA. 

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