Call for children's food ad curbs

The charter asks countries to look at how unhealthy food is marketed to children
European health ministers are being asked to sign up to an anti-obesity charter stating that children should not be "exploited" by food companies.
The World Health Organization is holding a conference in Turkey later this month where, it is expected, the charter will be adopted.

A draft version, seen by the BBC, calls for marketing pressure to be reduced.

In the UK, broadcasting regulator Ofcom is set to make its recommendations on junk food advertising this month.

We should stop the commercialisation of children

Professor Phil James, International Association for the Study of Obesity

Ofcom has said it does not believe a total ban is necessary.

But health campaigners are calling for a complete ban on advertising of unhealthy foods before the 9pm watershed.

The draft WHO charter says: "Special attention needs to be focussed on vulnerable groups such as children and adolescents, whose credulity should not be exploited by commercial activities."

It calls for a "reduction in marketing pressure, particularly to children".

Countries around Europe have differing policies on marketing to children.

There are statutory bans on advertising in Norway and Sweden, guidelines in Finland and Ireland and self-regulation by the advertising and media industries in the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain.

France has said all TV ads for processed foods, or products with added fat, sweeteners or salt must carry a health warning - or the advertiser must help fund health campaigns.

Dr Francesco Branca of the WHO said the problem of direct marketing to children was being considered.

He said the industry favoured self-regulation, but added: "Early indications are that this may not be sufficient".


Britain has the highest climbing rate of childhood obesity in Europe.

By 2010, one million children in the UK are expected to be classed as obese.

Professor Phil James, chairman of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, said something had to be done.

He said adverts must be restricted, and healthy diet and exercise promoted.
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Considering that reports have connected publicizing with the genuine and increasing trouble of child obesity, and that marketers are maximizing objecting to smaller and smaller children, I think controlling junk foods advertised at children could help bring obesity problem down.