18 February, 2008
Report on food advertising to children useful
An independent report released today makes a useful contribution to the discussion around obesity and the influence of
advertising on children’s behaviour, said Associate Health Minister Damien O'Connor.
The PEAK Group (made up of National Heart Foundation, the Cancer Society, the Stroke Foundation, Diabetes NZ and Te Hotu
Manawa Maori) undertook a survey to measure public opinion about what limits, if any, society should place on
advertising of food to children.
"This latest piece of research provides useful information about marketing to children, which is part of a much wider
picture of child obesity.
"It is not a question of simply banning the advertising of unhealthy food to children. The Ministry of Health HEHA
(Healthy Eating Healthy Action) Project team is currently looking at the implications of food advertising to children as
one of a number of initiatives to collectively aim to change the obesogenic environment and decrease and prevent
childhood overweight and obesity."
Mr O'Connor said he was concerned that too many children are consuming excessive amounts of energy and are not
physically active enough to burn it off.
"The government has a range of programmes underway to encourage healthy eating and physical activity. The HEHA Project,
the Fruit in Schools initiative and the $67 million Mission On Campaign are just three examples.
"The government is serious about tackling obesity which is why we have made health promotion and disease prevention a
"This is an issue that has just been added to my portfolio responsibilities. A great deal of work has already been done
in this area but it is clear that more is needed to ensure that society is acting on the messages about healthy living.
I am looking forward to discussing the issues with stakeholder groups and making a positive contribution in this area,"
said Mr O’Connor.