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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Mar 21;14(3). pii: E324. doi: 10.3390/ijerph14030324.

Public Preferences for the Use of Taxation and Labelling Policy Measures to Combat Obesity in Young Children in Australia.

Author information

1
Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia. t.comans@griffith.edu.au.
2
Metro North Hospital and Health Service District, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia. t.comans@griffith.edu.au.
3
Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia. n.moretto@griffith.edu.au.
4
Metro North Hospital and Health Service District, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia. n.moretto@griffith.edu.au.
5
Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia. j.byrnes@griffith.edu.au.

Abstract

Objective: Childhood obesity is a serious concern for developed and developing countries. This study aimed to assess the level of support in Australia for regulation and to assess whether systematic differences occur between individuals who support increased regulation and individuals who oppose it. Methods: An online survey (n = 563) was used to assess parental/caregiver preferences for taxation policy options and nutrition labelling designed to address the incidence of childhood obesity. Participants were parents or caregivers of young children (3 to 7 years) who were actively enrolled in an existing birth cohort study in South-East Queensland, Australia. Results: The majority of the parents (over 80%) strongly agreed or agreed with labelling food and drink with traffic light or teaspoon labelling. Support for taxation was more variable with around one third strongly supporting and a further 40% of participants equivocal about using taxation; however, a quarter strongly rejected this policy. Cluster analysis did not detect any socio-demographic differences between those who strongly supported taxation and those who did not. Conclusions: Better food labelling would be welcomed by parents to enhance food choices for their children. Taxation for health reasons would not be opposed by most parents. Implications for Public Health: Governments should consider taxation of unhealthy drinks and improved labelling to encourage healthy food purchasing.

KEYWORDS:

food labelling; public health policy; public preferences; taxation

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