Governments urged to cut children’s exposure to food marketing
Sheila Crisostomo (The Philippine Star) - September 21, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Worried about the impact of promotional gimmicks on the eating habits of children, the World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday urged governments to reduce children’s overall exposure to food and drink marketing.

The WHO said governments should also set rules “on the persuasive techniques companies can use, with a view to protecting children from the adverse impacts of marketing.”

“Food and drink marketing is a vast and increasingly sophisticated industry, and children are among its prime targets. Advertisements on TV, the Internet and mobile phones are being integrated with sponsorship agreements and product placement to maximize their impact,” it said in a statement.

The agency cautioned that many advertisements promote foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt, consumption of which should be limited as part of a healthy diet.

The WHO cited an analysis of television broadcasting in Greece in 2007 and 2008, showing that 65 percent of food advertisements promoted foods high in fats, sugar and salt.

“Food advertising and other forms of marketing have been shown to influence children’s food preferences, purchasing behavior and overall dietary behavior,” it said.

Marketing has also been associated with an increased risk of overweight and obesity in children.

The habits children develop early in life may encourage them to “adopt unhealthy dietary practices which persist into adulthood, increasing the likelihood of overweight, obesity and associated health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

According to Amanda Long, director general of global consumer rights organization Consumers International, “food companies spend billions of dollars developing marketing that really works.”                                          

ADVERTISEMENTS AMANDA LONG ASSOCIATED BEHAVIOR CHILDREN CONSUMERS INTERNATIONAL FOOD MARKETING WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION
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