Curtin University researchers have found an overwhelming majority of Western Australians support government regulation of food labels and advertising.
Dr Christina Pollard, Adjunct Senior Research Fellow in the School of Public Health, said there is increasing recognition that regulation has an important role to play as society addresses the public health problems of obesity and poor diet, as well as environmental protection.
“Community perception is that government control or regulation of food labelling, food advertising and the supply of environmentally-friendly food, is important,” Dr Pollard said.
“Our research demonstrated that 94 per cent of people think that the Australian and New Zealand governments should control health ratings on food and 83 per cent think that it should regulate the advertising of junk food.”
“The majority would also like to see regulation of the supply of environmentally-friendly food.”
“Curbing excess weight gain and related disease burden is a public health priority and our research clearly demonstrates that public opinion has evolved ahead of government policy. As with alcohol and tobacco regulations, these changes need to become a priority.”
“Australian federal and state governments are considering food regulatory interventions to assist the public to improve their dietary intake. These findings should provide reassurance to government officials considering these regulatory measures,” Dr Pollard said.
Published in the current edition of the Australian New Zealand Journal of Public Health, the research paper is titled Public say food regulatory policies to improve health in Western Australia are important: population survey results.
This research was conducted in collaboration with the Public Health Association of Australia.