Cancer Council WA has relaunched the LiveLighter® 13 Cancers public education campaign to remind West Australians not to be complacent with their health, just as junk food giant McDonald's boasts record home delivery sales during COVID-191.
Cancer Council WA's Obesity Prevention Manager, Kelly Kennington, said junk food companies need to be called out for their unethical marketing tactics during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"With people stuck at home, McDonald's have been quick to capitalise on the pandemic, adapting their marketing strategies to cash in on isolation and push their unhealthy food and drink menus on Australians to the point that home online delivery orders have now doubled since COVID-19 began," Ms Kennington said.
"Most people don't know about the link between body weight and cancer, which is why we need to remind the public to take action, eat well, move more and maintain a healthy weight - and not to get sucked in by the marketing tactics employed by the junk food industry."
Ms Kennington said the junk food industry, which includes sugary drinks, is driving a worldwide obesity epidemic through its marketing tactics; and it is predicted that obesity will cost the WA health system $610 million by 2026.
"At a time when the junk food industry is trying to boost sales, the LiveLighter® advertisement is trying to counter this marketing by raising awareness of the dangers of being above a healthy weight," she said.
"Sugary drinks are the focus of the ads because we know that they're one of the big contributors of empty kilojoules in our diet. They can lead to weight gain, toxic fat and an increased risk of 13 types of cancer."
Ms Kennington said that encouraging West Australians to maintain a healthy weight is an urgent priority for Cancer Council WA, and that almost 200,000 cancer cases could be avoided in Australia over the next 25 years if all Australian adults could achieve and maintain a healthy weight and met the physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention2.
"Given two thirds of WA adults are above a healthy weight and nearly half are not active enough, research shows we have the potential to prevent a significant number of cancers in WA and save thousands of lives," she said.
"One of the easiest things people can do to reduce their risk is to reduce sugary drink consumption."
Ms Kennington said Australians drink approximately 1.43 billion litres of sugary drinks each year, and alarmingly, 47 per cent of Australian children consume sugary drinks on any given day3.
"Many people don't realise the impact of sugary drinks on weight gain. For example, one 600mL bottle of regular soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar," she said.
"Cutting down on sugary drinks is critical as this is sugar our bodies just don't need."
The campaign will be seen across mainstream TV and radio, metro, regional and Indigenous networks, cinemas, bus stops, shopping centres and across various digital platforms in WA. It will run until 3 October 2020.