The 4th of March 2022 marks World Obesity Day. The signatories of this statement call on the EU to adopt strong regulation to protect children from the marketing of nutritionally poor food. Obesity is on the rise among European citizens, negatively impacting both people’s quality of life and life expectancy and increasing the incidence of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as societal and economic costs. To prevent a further rise of obesity and major diet-related diseases in the future, strong EU regulation on food marketing and support to families and children must be developed as a matter of priority.
Bearing in mind the constitutional principles of attributed powers, subsidiarity, and proportionality enshrined in the EU Treaties, social, health and consumer organisations reiterate their calls for the EU:
- to end the marketing of unhealthy food between 6 am and 11 pm on broadcast media;
- to end the marketing of unhealthy food on digital media;
- to end the sponsorship by food brands of events with cross-border effects, unless brands can prove that such sponsorship is not associated with unhealthy food; and
- to end the use of marketing techniques appealing to children for the promotion of unhealthy food – particularly on food packaging;
- to define a child as any person below the age of 18;
- to define unhealthy food using the WHO Europe nutrient profile model that is widely accepted in Europe as objective, independent of industry’s interests, and fit for purpose.
Action to create sustainable, empowering environments conducive to the good health and well-being of future generations is not only warranted, but also feasible. It is time for the EU to protect children from the impact that the marketing of nutritionally poor food has on their health and on their rights. The statement sets out these 6 priority actions for a comprehensive approach that leaves no-one behind.