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Cate Swannell
Med J Aust 2018; 208 (1): 5. || doi: 10.5694/mja18.n1501
Published online: 15 January 2018

Regulations to improve food labelling have strong public support, with almost 80% of people surveyed supporting the introduction of better labels on unhealthy foods, such as those that are high in sugar, salt and fat. In a survey of 2474 adults in New South Wales, published in Public Health Research and Practice, Cancer Council NSW researchers found that 86% of people supported a colour-coded food labelling system, 79% supported displaying health warning labels on unhealthy food and 73% of people supported a ban on unhealthy food advertising that targets children. The research also found that the most unpopular policy was a tax on unhealthy foods, with only 42% of people supporting the idea. The study, conducted in 2013, aimed to identify whether there is a relationship between support for food policy initiatives and awareness of the link between obesity-related lifestyle risk factors and cancer. It has recently been estimated that more than 3900 cases of cancer (3.4% of all cancers) diagnosed in Australia in 2010 could be attributed to overweight or obesity, 7089 (6.1%) to inadequate diet and 1814 (1.6%) to inadequate physical activity. The study found that support for food policy initiatives was higher among those who were aware of the link between cancer and obesity-related lifestyle factors than among those who were not.

  • Cate Swannell


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