In Australia, 61% of adults are overweight or obese. High consumption of energy-dense foods and drinks is associated with increased risk of overweight and obesity. Yet consumption of fast food in Australia doubled over the decade to 2009.
Research shows obesity prevention and healthy weight maintenance are easier, less expensive and more effective than weight loss programs. But Australian consumers have little or no understanding of what kilojoules are. NSW legislation to mandate kilojoule labelling in fast food chains has been supported by the 8700kJ consumer education campaign.
The campaign was digitally-based, using PR, advertising and stakeholder outreach to increase awareness of kilojoules and the 8700kJ average adult daily intake figure. Consumers were encouraged to find out their own ideal kj figure online and by apps.
Heavy fast food consumers aged 18-24 years were the primary audience. They’re not necessarily overweight but could develop chronic health problems as they age, unless they make healthy lifestyle changes.
PR coverage has been comprehensive with over 19 million impressions through 50 media items. Online traffic and app downloads show consumers used the tools to calculate kJ requirements. Importantly for a healthy weight campaign, focus groups showed high campaign acceptance and personal relevance.