FAQ

What is the Our Kids, Our Call campaign?

Our Kids, Our Call is a campaign led by Cancer Council’s CanAct Community to stop junk food advertisers targeting our kids with manipulative advertising that creates unhealthy eating habits and sets them up for a lifetime of poor health.

Why is Cancer Council NSW concerned about food marketing to children?

Cancer Council NSW aims to reduce cancer in the NSW community by encouraging people to lead cancer-smart lifestyles. However, it’s difficult to make healthy food choices if our lives are dominated by advertisers telling us to eat their junk food. This is especially a concern for our children, as they are more vulnerable to marketing messages.

The majority of food marketing is for unhealthy products, such as sugary breakfast cereals, fast food and soft drinks. Research has shown that junk food marketing influences food preferences and increases pester power impacting the quality of a child’s diet and ultimately affecting their weight. The majority of overweight kids will become overweight adults, which significantly increases the risk of 11 different types of cancer including breast (post-menopause), bowel, kidney, liver, stomach and pancreatic cancers.

Cancer Council NSW wants to help parents take back the control from the junk food advertisers. The more people that join us, the stronger we will be as a community to beat the high rates of childhood obesity and work towards a cancer-free future. Children deserve to be protected against the aggressive marketing of unhealthy food, together let’s tell them they’re Our Kids, it’s Our Call!

Why are healthy eating habits important?

1 in 3 cancers are preventable.

We all know about the dangers of smoking and sun exposure. Evidence now shows that many cancer cases are caused by being overweight, eating too much red and processed meat and not enough fruit and vegetables. Click here to find out more about our 1 in 3 Cancers campaign.

What is CanAct?

Our Kids, Our Call campaign is part of the greater CanAct movement which is a community of over 25,000 people from across NSW that have the passion and power to change what politicians do about cancer.

CanAct has successfully campaigned for more palliative care funding, to abolish chemotherapy co-payments, and introduce smoke-free outdoor areas. Join Our Kids, Our Call and take action with the CanAct community to stop junk food advertisers targeting our kids with manipulative advertising.

What difference will I make by joining this campaign and the CanAct community?

A huge difference! The more people who join our campaign the greater our power to stop junk food advertisers targeting our kids with manipulative advertising.

What else can I do to help this campaign?

Share the campaign with your friends and family and encourage them to join up!

What are the current food marketing regulations to children?

Currently, there is very limited government regulation of food marketing to children in Australia. Instead the food industry has developed a self-regulation system that is voluntary. Recent research has shown that these self-regulations are failing to protect our kids from harmful junk food marketing. Click on the links below for more information about each code.

Isn’t it the parent’s responsibility to feed their kids?

Yes it is, but when we are bombarded by junk food marketing in every part of our lives it’s difficult to make healthy choices. Parents know what’s best for their children but junk food advertisers use manipulative tactics to target kids, undermining parent’s efforts. Right now, junk food marketers decide themselves whether or not their advertising targets children. We believe that self-regulation does not work and needs to stop. Together we want to create an environment where parents can make decisions that are best for their kid’s health and wellbeing without the unhealthy influence of junk food advertising.

We all know junk food isn’t the first option, but it’s a great way to treat the whole family. So what’s the problem with harmless junk food ads?

Marketers for junk food aren’t just selling a product, they’re sneakily targeting our kids and dominating our environment. Junk food marketers are setting our children up into becoming brand-loyal and life-long customers, leading them to a path of poor eating habits and long-term health problems. Our kids deserve the chance to grow into healthy adults.

How does restricting junk food ads reduce obesity rates?

Obesity is complex, however junk food advertising is one significant obstacle that is preventing our kids from developing healthy life-long habits. We live in an obesogenic environment that is dominated by junk food advertisers telling us to eat their food and undermining our ability as parents to guide our kids towards a path of health. The World Health Organisation identified junk food advertising restrictions as one of the most effective prevention interventions to reduce childhood obesity and help establish healthier habits for life.

I grew up with junk food advertising and I’m alright.

Back when we were kids, the majority of advertising was during TV shows on Saturday. But now, junk food advertisers are reaching our kids on TV all day, every day. But it doesn’t stop there, our kids are being bombarded with sly marketing tactics in other areas of their life – on the way to school, at the shops, in recreation centres, through the sport they participate in and the sports teams they support, to name a few.

Most kids today have access to the online world via computers, iPads and smart phones. This trend has seen a growth in digital marketing. Junk food advertisers have seized the opportunity to gather valuable data that can be used to specifically target our kids. The more junk food advertising our kids are exposed to, the harder it is for them to develop healthy eating habits.

The campaign wants new rules and regulations, sounds like a nanny state to me.

We believe that our kids should be free from the manipulation of junk food advertising. Currently the food industry is telling our children what to eat, setting them up for a lifetime of poor eating habits and poor health. We need to protect our kids and put a stop to this and make healthy choices the easy choice.

Major food companies have committed to the voluntary self-regulatory system – surely that commitment alone shows that they won’t advertise to children?

It's not working!  If you look around today you will still find lots of junk food ads targeting kids. Unfortunately, when you let the food industry decide their own guidelines, it's like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.  At the end of the day, our kid’s health should come before junk food profits.

How can I make a complaint about a junk food ad I have seen?

Food marketing on television, radio, print media (newspaper or magazines), cinemas, outdoor signs, websites and email are covered by several codes developed by the advertising and food industries. Complaints under these codes can be made to the Advertising Standards Bureau.  To make a complaint you will need to know where you saw the ad and what the ad was about and explain in your own words why you think the ad markets unhealthy food to children.

Alternatively tell us about any food marketing aimed at children you have seen and we will lodge a complaint on your behalf.

Why should I make a complaint about junk food marketing to children?

The current regulations rely on the public to complain. Without any complaints, the junk food advertisers can claim that their self-regulation system is working. The more complaints that the Advertising Standards Board receives, the more evidence there is that the regulations are failing to reduce the exposure of children to junk food marketing.

In the end we want to:

  • Protect our children against aggressive marketing tactics
  • Reduce ‘pester power’ which will help make your job easier as a parent
  • Let the junk food marketers know that it’s not OK to target children
  • Help reduce childhood overweight and obesity

Why is Cancer Council NSW concerned about food marketing to children?

Cancer Council NSW aims to reduce cancer in the NSW community by encouraging people to lead cancer-smart lifestyles. However, it’s difficult to make healthy food choices if our lives are dominated by advertisers telling us to eat their junk food. This is especially a concern for our children, as they are more vulnerable to marketing messages.

The majority of food marketing is for unhealthy products, such as sugary breakfast cereals, fast food and soft drinks. Research has shown that junk food marketing influences food preferences and increases pester power impacting the quality of a child’s diet and ultimately affecting their weight. The majority of overweight kids will become overweight adults, which significantly increases the risk of 11 different types of cancer including breast (post-menopause), bowel, kidney, liver, endometrial, ovarian, stomach, oesophagus, gallbladder, pancreas and prostate cancers.

Cancer Council NSW want to help parents take back the control from the junk food marketers. The more people that join us, the stronger we will be as a community to beat the high rates of childhood obesity and work towards a cancer-free future. Children deserve to be protected against the aggressive marketing of unhealthy food, together let’s tell them they are Our Kids, and it’s Our Call!