EuroHealthNet welcomes the opportunity to contribute to the WHO online public consultation “draft guideline on policies to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing”. To protect children from marketing surrounding unhealthy foods, we advise taking a health equity-focused input to strengthen advocacy towards more mandatory regulation at EU and Member State level. Overall, we welcome these guidelines and the systemic approach to food marketing on which this document is framed.
Guidelines focus on important topics such as
- Mandatory regulation
- The vulnerability of certain social groups
- The need to focus on having a long-term political commitment to regulating marketing surrounding unhealthy foods.
Moreover, we believe that guidelines are set at the right level of specificity, since they apply to different contexts, however also advise they are not highly theoretical, ensuring these guidelines are clear for policy makers.
Nevertheless, as better specified in our response, we believe that some parts can be strengthened by focusing even further on the potential of the ‘human rights approach’, by taking into account the new online platforms (influencers, social media, etc.), and the need to stress with more clarity that mandatory regulations that have been proven to work, whilst voluntary policies have not achieved the outcomes expected over the last decade”.