By 3 News online staff
Most New Zealanders support Government action on restricting junk food marketing to kids, according to a new poll.
The Horizon Research poll, commissioned by the University of Auckland (UoA), was carried out on more than 1600 over-18s last month, and showed 73 percent in favour of such restrictions.
"Clearly the public are very supportive of the Government taking a much stronger lead in protecting children and supporting parents by restricting unhealthy food marketing that targets children," says UoA Professor Boyd Swinburn.
"It's usually one of the top cost-effective strategies recommended within a comprehensive approach to reduce childhood obesity, and it's very clear that there is strong public backing for such government leadership."
Currently there are no government restrictions on marketing to children – only industry codes, which are self-regulated, including the Code for Advertising to Children and the Children's Code for Advertising Food 2010.
UoA says New Zealand has the third highest rate of childhood obesity among wealthy countries.
Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says there is no single solution in the battle against obesity, but the Government already has a number of actions underway, including the health star labelling system.
"Budget 2014 allocated $40 million over four years for Healthy Families New Zealand – a more sophisticated way of addressing obesity and underlying causes of poor health," he says.
"Each year over $60 million is invested on a range of programmes to promote healthy lifestyles, including Kiwisport, green prescriptions and fruit in schools."
Dr Coleman says additional measures are being looked into, but no decisions have been made on what shape or form they would take.