At the Public Health Prevention Conference that opened in Melbourne today, public health practitioners were urged to “smash the silos” that constrain their work, and to engage with champions for public health outside the sector.
The conference follows a forum held yesterday on unhealthy marketing to children, where participants called for a regulatory crackdown on “the ruthless, relentless marketing” of unhealthy products to children, especially of alcohol, junk food and gambling.
The marketing of these products was also a recurring topic at the Public Health Prevention Conference, according to the report below, which is drawn from tweets by participants. Croakey acknowledges and thanks all who have contributed.
In a keynote presentation, Professor Lucie Rychetnik from The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre spoke to the theme of the conference, “Smashing the Silos”.She urged participants to take a systems approach to identify shared solutions to wicked problems to achieve co-benefits, and presented the slide below as an example of “triple duty action”.
It shows that acting upstream can benefit multiple areas of public health, in this case changing modes of transport could help tackle obesity/non communicable diseases, undernutrition, and greenhouse gas emissions.
Rychetnik also talked about the ‘triple bottom line’ – measuring health, economic and environmental outcomes, and cited the work of economist Kate Raworth in creating the Doughnut of social and planetary boundaries.
Raworth argues that economic development must stay within the planet’s ecological ceiling or capacity (read more about her work in this previous Croakey article).
Dr Corinne Graffunder, Director of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urged conference delegates to look widely when cultivating champions for public health. She also highlighted the importance for prevention of focusing on early childhood experiences, social determinants of health and health in all policies.
Tweet reports below from a presentation by Kate Palmer, Chief Executive Officer, Sport Australia.
Preventing violence against women
The tweets below are from a presentation by Patty Kinnersly, Chief Executive Officer, Our Watch.
The conference also heard about factors contributing to higher rates of family violence in rural and remote areas, the perspectives of Aboriginal women – including the importance of self-determination – and The Men’s Project.
On trust and complexity
Keynote speaker Professor Diane Finegood from Simon Fraser University in Canada drew distinctions between complex and complicated challenges, noting that “health promotion and disease prevention are clearly complex challenges which we have been addressing with mostly reductionist approaches that match single causes with an intervention”.
She said that complex problems require integrative solutions that focus on relationships, boundaries and perspectives, and looked at the interface between conflicts of interest and convergences of interest.
Presentations focused on gambling, inadequate regulation of alcohol marketing, misleading food marketing – and effective interventions to reduce softdrink consumption.
Oration by Adjunct Professor Tarun Weeramanthri
Stop unhealthy marketing to children
Regulations are urgently needed to tackle unhealthy marketing to children, according to participants in a forum held the day before the conference.
Addressing the forum, Professor Rob Moodie challenged public health advocates to compete in the market place as a brand, to counter the massive influence of industry. He said the public health sector needs “to be as clever as them” and to do a better job of developing partnerships.
Download the full communique from the Unhealthy Marketing to Children Forum here and read it in full below.
Protecting Australian children from gambling, alcohol and junk food marketing
We, the participants of the Unhealthy Marketing to Children Forum gathered in Melbourne on Tuesday 11 June 2019 to assess the harm linked to and regulation of unhealthy product marketing, join together to make the following statement.
We note that the marketing of junk food, alcohol and gambling increases the appeal of these products to consumers, and acknowledge the evidence that the exposure of children and adolescents to this marketing is associated with attitudes and/or behaviours that contribute to harm.
We understand that unhealthy product marketing is evolving rapidly and that vulnerable young consumers are exposed via the latest technological innovations. The growth of digital advertising and the ability for advertisers to now directly target individuals, undetected, add to our concerns.
We find that the aggressive marketing of these unhealthy products undermines children’s rights and fuels some of Australia’s most significant health and social burdens.
We find that the existing regulatory landscape is grossly inadequate. Current controls are a combination of legislation; unenforceable industry controlled quasi-regulatory schemes, voluntary codes of practice; and policy-led arrangements with inadequate monitoring and split responsibilities.
We believe this growing threat requires an urgent response from all levels of government, including policy makers, regulators and administrators.
We call for urgent action to develop a comprehensive regulatory system covering all forms of unhealthy product advertising beginning with:
- A wide-ranging, independent review of all unhealthy product advertising and marketing;
- Immediately legislating time-based controls that prohibit the broadcast of alcohol, junk food and gambling ads when children watch TV (including catch-up and subscription TV); and
- Strengthened controls of digital marketing to reduce exposure of children to marketing of unhealthy products online.
The exposure of children to the marketing of alcohol, gambling and junk food is a collective problem that has reached a critical juncture.
We hereby commit to the goal of protecting Australian children from the ruthless, relentless marketing of harmful products – gambling, alcohol and junk food. We undertake to provide a more unified and targeted preventive health response and call upon all levels of government to collaborate with us to protect future generations from harm.
The forum was convened by the Public Health Association of Australia. Participants included FARE Australia’s Trish Hepworth, the Obesity Policy Coalition’s Jane Martin and Associate Professor, Samantha Thomas with Deakin University