.

  • Written by Tim Chambers, Research Associate in the Centre of Health Economics and Policy Innovation, Imperial College London
Research shows that New Zealand children are exposed to an average of 46 ads for unhealthy products every day. from www.shutterstock.com, CC BY-ND

Unhealthy products - including junk food, alcohol and gambling - are leading causes of cancer, obesity, diabetes, mental illness and many social harms. In New Zealand, alcohol alone contributes to an estimated 800 deaths and costs the economy approximately NZ$7.85 billion each year.

Two comprehensive reports, published by the Law Commission in 2010 and the Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship in 2014, have recommended a complete overhaul of alcohol marketing regulations. But successive governments have failed to act.

The lack of government action in the face of a broken regulatory system is a major concern, particularly given children’s unprecedented exposure to and normalisation of advertising of unhealthy products.


Read more: Even adverts for 'healthy’ fast food are bad for children – here's why they should be banned


Failure of industry self-regulation

In most countries, including New Zealand, marketing for individual unhealthy products is self-regulated by the industry (with the notable exception of tobacco). The industry sets, monitors and enforces their own marketing codes.

Such systems are hopelessly ineffective, particularly at protecting children. Our recent research showed New Zealand children were exposed to an average of 46 ads for unhealthy products every day (27 junk food, 12 alcohol, and seven gambling ads). Exposure was measured by 168 children wearing automated cameras that captured images every seven seconds every waking hour for four days.

Children were frequently exposed to unhealthy marketing near schools and in supermarkets, and at times were they should be protected under the self-regulatory codes. Sports sponsorship was a key mechanism used by unhealthy product companies, which undermined their own self-regulatory codes and was a major contributor to children’s overall exposure.


Read more: McDonald's is a social and healthcare burden – whatever its charity PR might indicate


From marketing to consumption

Of course, adults can consume alcohol, junk food and gamble at low-risk levels. But there is always potential for misuse of unhealthy products because they are inherently addictive, with proven links to adverse outcomes. For example, New Zealand is the third most obese nation in the OECD, with poor diets as the leading causal factor. These products are a risk to health and the government has an obligation to ensure citizens’ rights to good health.

There is strong evidence of the negative health impacts of marketing across a range of unhealthy products. Consequently, marketing is recognised as a key driver of consumption and contributor to the overall health burden.

How are governments dealing with this? In short, they aren’t. One might think that regulating unhealthy products marketing might be fairly complex, but the policy recommendations for dealing with a wide range of products are remarkably similar and straightforward.

For example, there are common recommendations on banning sports sponsorship of unhealthy products. This has the support of some athletes, including AFL star Easton Wood who said he would take a pay cut to rid the AFL of gambling sponsors.

Why the reluctance on regulating unhealthy products? Companies selling unhealthy products have acquired a critical mass of expertise in challenging meaningful health regulation.

Collaborative industries

Research has shown how individual unhealthy product companies adopt the same tactics to disrupt, distort and deflect meaningful regulation.

For example, tobacco and alcohol companies have produced public relation campaigns that stress the importance of individual accountability and education. But how many consumers are aware that drinking a bottle of wine a week has the same cancer risk as smoking ten cigarettes for women and five for men? Or even how many calories are in their drink? This situation stacks the odds heavily against policymakers and consumers attempting to live healthier lives.

Another problem is that policymakers and government departments often work on different unhealthy products, which fractures the collective effort for better health. For example, alcohol is managed by the ministry of justice, gambling by the ministry of internal affairs and tobacco and diet by the ministry of health.

A solution may lie in the government’s recently announced Public Services Act, which will see the creation of interdepartmental executive boards tasked with specific jobs like reducing child poverty or improving mental health. An executive board on unhealthy products could streamline the policymaking process and, most importantly, reduce and prevent the social and health costs of unhealthy products.

Tim Chambers receives funding from the Health Research Council of New Zealand.

Authors: Tim Chambers, Research Associate in the Centre of Health Economics and Policy Innovation, Imperial College London

Read more http://theconversation.com/nz-children-see-more-than-40-ads-for-unhealthy-products-each-day-its-time-to-change-marketing-rules-120841

Is your horse normal? Now there’s an app for that

Vet: are you happy? Horse: neigh. evilgurl/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SASince ancient times, horse behaviour, and the bond between horses and humans, has been a source of intrigue and fascination. The horse-l...

Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney - avatar Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science, University of Sydney

Small histories: a road trip reveals local museums stuck in a rut

Berry, and other tourist towns, are out of step with modern museum curation which is trying to include Aboriginal communities and their stories. ShutterstockAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander read...

Jen Saunders, Phd candidate, University of Wollongong - avatar Jen Saunders, Phd candidate, University of Wollongong

Curious Kids: how are stars made?

Stars come into existence because of a powerful force of nature called gravity. ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Judy SchmidtIf you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it...

Orsola De Marco, Astrophysicist , Macquarie University - avatar Orsola De Marco, Astrophysicist , Macquarie University

What is perimenopause and how does it affect women's health in midlife?

Perimenopause lasts months for some women, and years for others. from www.shutterstock.comAll women know to expect the time in life when their periods finish and they reach menopause. Many might even...

Gita Mishra, Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland - avatar Gita Mishra, Professor of Life Course Epidemiology, Faculty of Medicine, The University of Queensland

Vital signs. Our compulsory super system is broken. We ought to axe it, or completely reform it

We're taking money from people, letting it fall through the cracks, and spending no less than we were on pensions. ShutterstockThe just-announced inquiry into Australia’s retirement income syste...

Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW - avatar Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSW

Might consciousness and free will be the aces up our sleeves when it comes to competing with robots?

Our advantage lies in incommensurables, and it'll grow in importance. Franck V. on UnsplashThe rise of artificial intelligence has led to widespread concern about the role of humans in the workplaces ...

Allan McCay, Law Lecturer, University of Sydney - avatar Allan McCay, Law Lecturer, University of Sydney

Should I stay or should I go: how 'city girls' can learn to feel at home in the country

Shutterstock/The ConversationA move to the country is often presented in popular culture as an idyllic life, a place where you can escape the pressures of the city. It’s in television shows su...

Rachael Wallis, Lecturer and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Southern Queensland - avatar Rachael Wallis, Lecturer and Honorary Research Fellow, University of Southern Queensland

Grattan on Friday: Storm clouds avoid the bush, darken over the economy

National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson says she doesn't think the government has a drought policy. ShutterstockGovernment sources insist shock jock Alan Jones didn’t drive Thursday&...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Julianne Schultz appointed chair of The Conversation

Professor Julianne Schultz AM FAMA has been appointed chair of The Conversation Media Group, following the retirement of Harrison Young. Since becoming chairman in April 2017, Harrison has improved ...

Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation - avatar Misha Ketchell, Editor & Executive Director, The Conversation

Cats are not scared off by dingoes. We must find another way to protect native animals

New research suggests feral cats can probably outsmart dingoes. Wikimedia/AAPFeral cats are wreaking havoc on our native wildlife, eating more than a billion animals across Australia every year. But ...

Bronwyn Fancourt, Adjunct Research Fellow, University of New England - avatar Bronwyn Fancourt, Adjunct Research Fellow, University of New England

Curious Kids: does chewing gum stay inside you for years?

Swallowing a lot of gum can cause it to stick together or stick to food in your gut. www.shuttershock.com, CC BYIf you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, send it to curiouskids@th...

Jerry Zhou, Lecturer, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University - avatar Jerry Zhou, Lecturer, School of Medicine, Western Sydney University

Don't believe your ears: 'enhancing' forensic audio can mislead juries in criminal trials

Audio used as evidence in criminal trials can often be unreliable.  Many criminal trials feature forensic evidence in the form of audio recordings, typically from bugging houses or cars, or intercep...

Helen Fraser, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New England - avatar Helen Fraser, Adjunct Associate Professor, University of New England

The case for 'inclusion riders' in creative industries: what Australian discrimination law says about quotas

In March last year, Frances McDormand won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In her acceptance speech, she drew attention to the female nominees in the room and left them with two final words: &ldq...

Liam Elphick, Adjunct Research Fellow, Law School, University of Western Australia - avatar Liam Elphick, Adjunct Research Fellow, Law School, University of Western Australia

The Portal review: can meditation change the world?

The Portal uses individual stories of meditative transformation to suggest a bigger change is possible. SuppliedThe Portal follows six individuals who undergo a personal transformation from trauma an...

Peggy Kern, Associate professor, University of Melbourne - avatar Peggy Kern, Associate professor, University of Melbourne

Why white married women are more likely to vote for conservative parties

Women’s perceptions of 'gender linked fate' were contingent on two dimensions: their race and their marital status. ShutterstockThe polls were wrong in the last US and Australian federal electi...

Leah Ruppanner, Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-Director of The Policy Lab, University of Melbourne - avatar Leah Ruppanner, Associate Professor in Sociology and Co-Director of The Policy Lab, University of Melbourne

Thoughts and prayers: miracles, Christianity and praying for rain

In a speech in Albury last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told his audience that he was praying for rain in drought-affected areas. “I pray for that rain everywhere else around the count...

Philip C. Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, The University of Queensland - avatar Philip C. Almond, Emeritus Professor in the History of Religious Thought, The University of Queensland

Prime Minister's science prizes awarded for algebra expertise, anti-cancer research and excellence in science teaching

Cheryl Praeger was awarded the 2019 Prime Minister’s Prizes for Science. She has spent more than four decades inspiring a love for maths in others, and has created a vast body of academic work i...

Michael Hopkin, Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation - avatar Michael Hopkin, Science + Technology Editor, The Conversation

Curious Kids: is it OK to listen to music while studying?

Does music usually put you in a better mood? That might help you try a little bit harder and stick with challenging tasks. Shutterstock I am in year 11 and I like to listen to music when I am studyin...

Timothy Byron, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Wollongong - avatar Timothy Byron, Lecturer in Psychology, University of Wollongong

A requiem for Reformasi as Joko Widodo unravels Indonesia's democratic legacy

It’s deeply ironic that Indonesia’s third president, BJ Habibie, died on September 11 – less than a week before the national legislature passed a law that gutted the highly-regarded ...

Tim Lindsey, Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne - avatar Tim Lindsey, Malcolm Smith Professor of Asian Law and Director of the Centre for Indonesian Law, Islam and Society, University of Melbourne

Sick and Tired of Your Dead End Job? Try Teaching!

Tired of the same old grind at the office? Want an opportunity to impact lives both in your community and around the world? Do you love to travel and have new experiences? Teaching English is the perfect job for you! All you need is a willingness to ...

News Company - avatar News Company

The Impact of an Aging Population in Australia

There’s an issue on the horizon that Australia needs to prepare for. The portion of elderly citizens that make up the country’s overall population is increasing, and we might not have the infrastructure in place to support this. Australians h...

News Company - avatar News Company

LifeStyle

Questions to ask yourself before buying your watch

There are more and more watches on the market. And more and more brands are trying to seduce consu...

How to Thoroughly Prepare Children for a Professional Photoshoot at a Studio

Children are only young for a moment, which is why, for a lot of parents, it's essential to take a...

What to Expect at the University of Florida Tour

The University of Florida is a dream college for most aspiring students. Not only because of its p...

7 Professions that Will Be Huge in the Next Decade

In order to embark on a career path that requires a lot of training and experience, you might ne...