Life Education Queensland throws support behind state government junk food advertising bans

HEALTHY HAROLD: Students from St Anthony's Catholic Primary School with the Life Education mobile classroom.
HEALTHY HAROLD: Students from St Anthony's Catholic Primary School with the Life Education mobile classroom.

A HEALTH education service that regularly visits local schoolshas supported a junk food advertising ban, urging parents to make healthy choices for their child's lunchbox as term two begins.

Life Education Queensland - the organisation behind well-known health mascot Healthy Harold - has applauded the state government's move to ban junk food advertising on publicly-owned sites.

The ban, announced on Sunday, will see advertisements for foods deemed unhealthy phased out at government-owned outdoor advertising spaces including billboards and public transport.

Foods will be ruled in or out based on their salt, sugar and fat content, Health Minister Steven Miles said.

Head of Life Education Queensland Michael Fawsitt said one quarter of Queensland children were overweight or obese and the growth of junk food advertising should be a concern to the whole community.

"There's no doubt that policies that restrict or prevent advertising can contribute to a positive change in behaviour," he said.

"Banning cigarette advertising is one example of this."

Mr Fawsitt said although many parents did try to implement healthy eating practices at home, an onslaught of junk food messages made it tough to get the message across.

"At Life Education, our educators work ... to provide nutrition education to children...but we're competing with a constant stream of advertising messages that are often very much designed to appeal to a young audience," he said.

"This is where parents have such an important role to play, not only in restricting the family's consumption of junk food and sugary drinks, but also in what they prepare for their children in their school lunch box."

The LNP criticised the ban, saying it was intended to draw attention away from bed shortages in hospital emergency departments.

Deputy opposition leader Tim Mander called on the government to rethink its priorities.

Mr Fawsitt said urgent community response was needed to reduce the burden of chronic disease.

"If our kids are physically active and eat healthy most of the time and if we as parents try to set a good example, we're potentially adding decades to their life and to ours," he said.