Dental Tribune Asia Pacific

State government bans advertising of junk food on publicly owned space

BRISBANE, Australia: An unhealthy diet can be a contributing factor to poor oral and general health, and advertising plays a key role in this regard. Seeking to curb this, the Queensland government has announced a ban on the promotion of unhealthy food and drinks on the advertisement spaces it owns. The move is the first of its kind by an Australian state.

Rethink Sugary Drink, a partnership of 19 leading health and community organisations, including the Australian Dental Association, praised the decision. In a statement, Craig Sinclair, head of the prevention division at Cancer Council Victoria, a partner of Rethink Sugary Drink, placed particular focus on the need to provide supportive, healthy environments for children where the considerable negative impact on sugary drinks can be tackled.

“Whether that is on their walks to school, while waiting for the bus or even when visiting sports and community centres, the presence of sugary drink marketing is overwhelming, making messages about healthier options more difficult to hear,” noted Sinclair.

In addition to praising the decision by the Queensland government, Rethink Sugary Drink recommended a public education campaign supported by government that highlights the health impacts of consuming drinks high in sugar. The group also proposed comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks, as well as increased availability of free water, in schools, government institutions, children’s sports and places frequented by children. In addition, Rethink Sugary Drink suggested the creation of state and local government policies that reduce the availability of sugary drinks in workplaces, government institutions, healthcare settings, sports and recreation facilities, and other public places.

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