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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Food Advertising

Media release
14 March 2005

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Food Advertising Targeted to Children

Just how much influence food advertising and promotion has on children’s food choices and obesity will be the subject of discussion at a symposium in Wellington on Tuesday 15 March.

The symposium is hosted by the Agencies for Nutrition Action. The key note speaker is Dr Gerard Hastings, director of the Institute for Social Marketing in the UK and Professor of Social Marketing at the University of Strathclyde .

Professor Hastings led a research team at Strathclyde University which published a report in 2003 titled “Review of Research on the Effects of Advertising of Food Promotion to Children”. The report, prepared for the British Food Standards Agency, concluded food advertising does, as most parents already know, affect children’s food choices.

Food industry and advertising advocates claim advertising is all about brand protection, but Prof Hastings reports food advertising does more: it also influences the type of food children want to eat.

The report highlights the poor quality of the food advertised and just how much advertising and promotion is directed at children.

The seminar will discuss the New Zealand situation and whether or not this powerful resource can be put to better use. Can food advertising and promotion be used to convince children and their parents to eat healthy food? Does it have a role in solving the worryingly high levels of overweight and obesity in our children?

Others speakers at the seminar include Prof Janet Hoek from the Department of Marketing at Massey University, Celia Murphy, Executive Director of the Obesity Action Coalition, and Anthony Maher a medical student from Otago University and The morning seminar will conclude with a discussion panel which includes health officials and an industry representative.


For more information on Agencies for Nutrition Action (ANA) visit our website

ANA are a coalition of nutrition and physical activity organisations including the NZ Dietetic Association, Diabetes NZ, Cancer Society, NZ Nutrition Foundation, Te Hotu Manawa Maori, Heart Foundation, Pacific Island Food and Nutrition Action Group, Home Economic and Technology Teachers Association NZ and NZ Recreation Association. Sport and Recreation NZ (SPARC) and the Ministry of Health are observer members.

ANA mission is for its members to work together to support New Zealanders to achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life through good nutrition and physical activity. It promoted healthy lifestyles and environments.

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