National Rural Health Alliance: Response to Department of Health and Aged Care Public Consultation on Feasibility Study Options to Limit Unhealthy Food Marketing to Children

15 March 2024

The following summarises the Alliance Response to key policy questions for this consultation.  The responses were submitted through a survey portal with the Department of Health and Aged Care.

4a). Which is the most appropriate policy objective?

 

(Required) O To reduce the amount of unhealthy food marketing that children are exposed to and the persuasive content of marketing messages (power) (short-term objective, within 1-2 years).

✓ To reduce the amount of unhealthy food marketing that children are exposed to and the persuasive content of marketing messages (power) (short-term objective, within 1-2 years) AND to improve children’s dietary intakes (medium-term objective, within 3-4 years).  
O Other, specify below.

Please provide evidence/rationale for your selection. This may include: i. costs and benefits; ii. barriers and enablers; iii. impact on priority populations; and iv. monitoring and evaluation. Include references where possible.

 

As the objective of reducing the marketing of unhealthy food to children is to improve their intake of healthy food and reduce their intake of unhealthy food, the intervention should be linked to a change in outcome to enable appropriate monitoring and evaluation of the policy.

The National Rural Health Alliance sees improving the dietary intake of children as a key preventive health objective due to the poorer exposure of rural, remote and regional adults to multiple diet related health and behavioural risk factors. Rates of overweight and obesity are higher in rural areas (70 per cent of the population compared with 65.1 per cent in major cities); as are rates of consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks, and the proportion of people consuming an inadequate amount of fruit. Rates of exclusive breastfeeding are also lower for rural mothers and babies (except in Indigenous infants). We also highlight the increased exposure of rural, remote and regional people to poorer social determinants of health and acknowledge the link between things such as lower educational attainment, lower incomes and the tyranny of distance, with poorer quality dietary intake...

 

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