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WHO Calls For Tighter Controls On Marketing Of Unhealthy Foods To Children

“The marketing of unhealthy foods to children has proven ‘disastrously effective,’ driving obesity by using cheap social media channels to promote fat-, salt- and sugar-laden foods, the [WHO’s] Europe office said on Tuesday,” Reuters reports. The WHO “called for tighter controls on such marketing, saying tougher regulations were crucial to winning the fight against childhood obesity,” the news service adds (Kelland, 6/18). “‘Children are surrounded by adverts urging them to consume high-fat, high-sugar, high-salt foods,’ said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe,” The Hill’s “Healthwatch” blog writes, noting, “She added that food marketing is commonly present in places where children should be ‘protected, such as schools and sports facilities'” (Viebeck, 6/18). “Television remains the dominant form of advertising and a large majority of children and adolescents watch TV on average for more than two hours a day,” the health agency said in a report on food marketing, according to Reuters, which adds, “WHO Europe said that, while all 53 member states of its European region have signed up to restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods to children, most rely on general advertising regulations that do not specifically address the promotion of high-fat, high-salt or high-sugar products” (6/18).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.