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Debunking junk food advertising  

weigh scaleIn Australia, despite strong community support for tighter restrictions on food advertising, children and parents are regularly exposed to food industry marketing and promotions aimed at encouraging the purchase and consumption of unhealthy foods.

A new Cancer Council Victoria study in partnership with the Bupa Health Foundation aims to explore the effects of running advertisements that encourage nutritional awareness and healthy food choices and that expose misleading promotions and unsubstantiated health claims.

"Our research shows that parents want their kids to eat healthily but they are pressed for time, have budget constraints and find all the different nutrition messages quite confusing," said Cancer Council Victoria’s Dr Helen Dixon. "With the alarming rise in the prevalence of childhood obesity, and the serious chronic disease risks associated with that, anything we can do to support good food choices will be a constructive contribution."

“Around one in four (26%) overweight adult Australians and one in ten (11%) of those obese say they are happy with their weight. More than a quarter (26%) of obese Australians surveyed consider themselves to be fairly to very healthy.” 1

1 Kantar Health conducted the Bupa HealthWatch Survey of 1,204 Australian adults online between 17-24 August 2011.

Improving the wellbeing of young Australians 

young cyclistAustralia’s leading child health experts are working together on a groundbreaking initiative to improve the wellbeing and life opportunities of young Australians (0-24 years). The Nest Project is being facilitated by the Australian Research Alliance for Children & Youth (ARACY) in collaboration with principal partner, the Bupa Health Foundation.

The Nest Project’s aim is to develop Australia’s first national action plan for child and youth wellbeing.

During 2012, there will be a comprehensive review of the evidence to decide on, and measure, what actions are most likely to shape the best possible future for young Australians, and a national public consultation to hear the views of young Australians and their families. The findings will inform the action plan that will be discussed at a National Summit in November 2012.

“The Nest is an exciting and highly promising project to get much-needed action on child and youth wellbeing in Australia,” said Dr Christine Bennett, Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation steering committee.