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Study looks at laws to regulate junk food promotion

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Researchers at The University of Western Australia have recommended the introduction of legislation to limit the amount of ‘buy one, get one free’ offers of unhealthful food items in supermarkets.

Associate Professors Meredith Blake and Marilyn Bromberg and research assistant Nicholas Cardaci from UWA Law School co-authored the report. Healthy Competition: Western Australia’s Options to Regulate Supermarkets’ Marketing of Foods that are Discretionary.

“The widespread overconsumption of calorie-dense food and drinks with little nutritional value is a significant factor in Australia’s obesity rates,” Associate Professor Blake said.

“Unhealthy food accounts for over one-third of adults’ energy intake and more than 40 per cent of children’s energy intake.”

Research has proven that in-store supermarket promotions can lead consumers to purchase more products that they consume in excess of foods and even stockpile the food they buy, a situation that has been made worse due to the rising price of life.

Living in a rural or regional location also affects the availability of and the ability to afford healthy meals as well as their vulnerability to promotions on prices.

“Buy one get one free food promotions are widely used to market food to both adults and youth and encourage them to purchase a product more quickly, more frequently, and/or in greater quantities,” Associate Professor Bromberg stated.

“In the UK, the legislation was changed to regulate these marketing strategies.

“We believe an effective option to regulate these promotional strategies in WA is to introduce this type of legislation.”

The report, commissioned by Healthway, suggested using the Australian Health Star Rating system on products and putting restrictions on the location, size, and visibility of ‘buy one, receive one for free’ promotions. The report also suggested that a healthy-eating educational campaign should support any regulations.

Researchers believe that if the modifications are implemented, they could reduce the amount of Western Australians who are above an ideal weight.

Lotterywest and Healthway CEO Ralph Addis said that the study is a crucial move toward filling a huge gap in research on public health.

“This provides an important contribution to obesity prevention policy, and the outcomes will be a valuable resource for policymakers in WA,” said the researcher. Stated.

“Healthway encourages research that will inform policy and improve access to healthy and affordable food options, supporting the health and wellbeing of all Western Australians.”

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