Notify me

Sign up to be informed about FOE activities, and receive our newsletter.

* indicates required

Don't worry; we won't abuse your email address. Read our privacy statement.

NZ: FOE Press Release – Why is the government sitting on its hands?

4 March 2004

Research conducted for FOE (Fight the Obesity Epidemic) and Diabetes New Zealand released today has identified legislation either already in place or proposed in countries throughout the world that will help solve New Zealand’s obesity epidemic.

Three key legislative measures, The Sale of Certain Foods and Drinks in Schools, Restrictions on Television Advertising to Children, and Taxes on certain Food and Drinks to Fund health promotion, have been identified in overseas jurisdictions.

The United States, which has significant federal involvement in school lunch programmes, has strong federal regulation of foods sold in cafeterias during lunch times. California has legislation that limits the sale of unhealthy foods in schools.

Restrictions on targeting the advertising of unhealthy foods to children on television is found in Sweden, Norway, Belgium and Denmark, and the Canadian province of Quebec, which prohibits advertising during children’s programmes. The United Kingdom and Ireland have both considered Private Member’s bills that seek to specifically prohibit the television advertising of unhealthy food and drink during children’s programmes.

Taxation at state level in the United States shows the revenue gathering potential of small taxes on soft drink and snack foods for spending on public health. Surveys in the United States found that 45% of adults would support such a tax if revenue were spent on health education, even before the current media furore over the ‘obesity epidemic’.

Submissions on the revision of the Public Health Act due for release by the New Zealand government could control these adverse environmental influences.

“Is there a parent in New Zealand who thinks we should continue to target our increasingly obese children with advertisements for junk food on television or sell chippies, soft drinks and chocolate bars to them in school cafeterias, says Dr Robyn Toomath, Spokesperson of FOE. (Fight the Obesity Epidemic Inc.)

For more information please contact Dr Robyn Toomath, 021-455-453, or download the research report, Legislative Intervention To Address Obesity in Overseas Jurisdictions (PDF, 168KB) at


Published on March 4, 2004 in FOE media releases,New Zealand news