Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Marketing of Foods High in Fat, Salt and Sugar to Children

From the new WHO report on marketing to children:

The promotion of potentially unhealthy food and beverage products is now widely recognized in Europe as a significant risk factor for child obesity and for the development of diet-related noncommunicable diseases. Reviews conducted for WHO, for European parliamentarians  and for national agencies in Europe and the United States of America  have all concluded that, despite substantial gaps in the evidence, advertising and the promotional marketing of foods and beverages have enough effect on children’s diets to merit action.
As a result, a series of policy responses have emerged in the last decade. The WHO 2004 Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health  stated that food advertising messages that encourage unhealthy dietary practices should be discouraged, and that governments “should work with consumer groups and the private sector (including advertising) to develop appropriate multisectoral approaches to deal with the marketing of food to children, and to deal with such issues as sponsorship, promotion and advertising” (paragraph 40(3)).
In May 2006, WHO held a stakeholder forum and expert technical meeting on the issue in Lysbu, Norway. The resulting report urged Member States to take “bold, innovative action at both national and global levels” to reduce the promotion of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor food and beverages to children. It noted that advertising to children included: (i) promotion that is deliberately targeted at children and scheduled to reach them, and (ii) promotion targeting other groups but to which children are widely exposed.

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