World Health Organisation – new guidance on protecting children from food marketing

Image: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has published new guidelines around policies designed to protect youngsters from the harmful impact of food marketing.

The guidelines provide WHO member states with recommendations and implementation ideas, based on evidence that is specific to children within the context of food marketing.

Children, says WHO, continue to be exposed to powerful food marketing, which mainly promotes foods which are high in saturated fatty acids, sugars and salt, and which use all manner of marketing strategies to try and appeal to children.

The guidance highlights evidence showing that food marketing has predominantly promoted foods high in these ingredients in settings including:

  • Where children gather (e.g. schools and sports clubs)
  • During children’s television times, including on dedicated children’s channels
  • In digital spaces popular with young people; and
  • In magazines that target children and adolescents

“Food marketing has a harmful impact on children’s food choice and their dietary intake, affects their purchase requests to adults for marketed foods and influences the development of their norms about food consumption,” says WHO.

Food marketing, it adds, is also being increasingly recognised as a concern around the fundamental issue of children’s rights, ‘given its negative impact on several of the rights enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child’.

Click here for more about the guidance, including a link to download a PDF version.

Author: Simon Weedy

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