Stars influence poor food choices

PARENTS who view sports celebrity endorsements and selective nutrition claims on food packaging are more likely to buy energy-dense, nutrient-poor (EDNP) food for their children, a Cancer Council Victoria study has found.

Based on an online survey of 1551 parents and published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, the study found that parents were almost 2.5 times more likely to choose an EDNP product if it was endorsed by a sports celebrity and do so without consulting the nutrition information panel (NIP).

Prominent nutrient claims, such as source of fibre, on the front of the pack doubled the likelihood of EDNP product choice, with only 44% of parents reading the accompanying NIP.

The results have sparked fresh calls from the Obesity Policy Coalition for the introduction of a traffic light system guiding parents on healthier food choices. 

Traffic light labelling uses colour coding to indicate whether a product contains low