As of October, the food industry will not be able to broadcast in Portugal advertising for children of products potentially harmful to health. This includes all cookies and chocolate milkshakes, 90% of breakfast cereals and 72% of yogurts on the market, but it also affects most sodas or cheeses.
These products, which currently cover the advertising spaces of all children's programs, will have to disappear from any radio or television broadcast with a audience of more than 25% of young people under 16. But the norm goes further, and prohibits the promotion of these products on posters near schools or playgrounds, on the radio, the cinema and even the internet.In MagnetQuebec it has been limiting childhood obesity for more than 30 years. How? Turning off the tap on television advertising
In a statement, the Portuguese General Directorate of Health explains that, with this measure, the Government “pursues the objective of reduce excessive consumption of salt, sugar and saturated fat, which are associated with the development of chronic diseases, especially obesity, cardiovascular and cancer diseases ”.
WHO recommendations follow
Given the criticism of the food industry, the Portuguese Government insists that it is only following the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The promotion of unhealthy foods for children has proved disastrously effective
Already in 2013, the world's largest health authority, under the UN, asked tighten the controls on the marketing of products rich in saturated and trans fats, sugar, and salt, with the aim of curbing childhood obesity.
WHO was very clear: “Unfortunately, the promotion of unhealthy foods for children has proven to be disastrously effective. While adults know when they are being advertised, children cannot distinguish, for example, between advertisements and cartoons. This makes them particularly receptive and vulnerable to messages that lead to unhealthy choices. ”
The investigations carried out in this regard are overwhelming. A study published in 2009 in the journal European Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that up to one in three cases of childhood obesity could have been avoided if advertising of insane foods on television had been removed. Keep in mind that according to a study last year, conducted by the insurance company Caser, Spanish children see on average 6.79 hours of television a week. Advertising regulation works.
Most ads would disappear
What would happen if the regulations approved by Portugal were moved to Spain? Only a few months ago, the OCU, in collaboration with the Carlos III Health Institute, conducted a study in which 54 hours of emission were analyzed, for a week, of the main children's and youth channels in Spain, as well as the programs of general television stations with higher rates of children's audience. If WHO recommendations are applied, of the 119 products advertised Only 23% could have been announced.
Although Portuguese regulations affect all media, it is television that most worries public health experts. As the WHO points out, there is a strong link between television customs and obesity: “Recent data suggests that children become obese not only because they watch television, instead of being active, but also because are exposed to advertising and other tactics of marketing".Direct to the Palate The UK Government wants to limit the calories of restaurant and supermarket dishes by law
In Spain there has been a self-regulation agreement in advertising signed by the bulk of the food industry. This agreement, known as the PAOS Code, points out that the advertising of food or drinks “will in no case exploit the special confidence of minors in their parents, in teachers, or in other people, such as professionals of children's programs or characters (real or fictional) of fiction movies or series. ”
WHO has repeatedly indicated that the degree of breach of the agreement is "very high", and has insisted on the need to abandon self-regulation, betting on the regulation to dry, but it is an issue that, at the political level, collect few parties and has hardly been discussed in parliamentary headquarters.
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