Tuesday

12th Dec 2017

Letter

Childhood obesity: Time to put words into action

  • On 25 April, the European Parliament's CULT committee will vote on a proposal to revise the AVMSD, which includes provisions governing commercial communications for HFSS foods and alcoholic beverages to children and minors.

MEPs from all parties have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the rising levels of childhood overweight and obesity and the alarming levels of youth binge drinking that persist in Europe today.

Yet, when the opportunity arises to put declarations into action, the response falls short.

The draft report of the European Parliament's Committee on Culture and Education (CULT) has at various instances even weakened the Commission proposal, which is striking given that the European Parliament is support to represent the interests of Europe's people.

On 25 May 2016, the European Commission adopted a proposal to revise the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which includes provisions governing commercial communications for foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS foods) and alcoholic beverages to children and minors.

Any realistic attempt to tackle child obesity and alcohol harm in youth must reduce children's and adolescents' exposure to marketing.

It is well-established that advertising influences consumption patterns – especially for children – by increasing overall consumption of the product category advertised, and not just of a certain brand.

Nevertheless, the co-rapporteurs of the CULT committee propose to delete the one article that explicitly addresses the marketing of HFSS food.

Effective rules to limit exposure to health-harmful marketing, including restrictions on advertising during peak viewing hours and on sponsorship and product placement, will protect minors and empower parents in their efforts to educate children about healthy lifestyles.

Self-regulation has failed to achieve this result.

To ensure that front-runner governments can take firm action, they should be able to limit broadcasts from other countries on public health grounds.

It is also strongly recommend that the CULT committee adopts the World Health Organisation's nutrient profile model as the mechanism by which to define HFSS foods.

The members of this coalition of health organisations draw attention to the evidence we have repeatedly presented on the links between marketing and health, and highlight that with the AVMSD, the CULT committee have a once in a decade opportunity to protect the well-being of Europe's future generations.

European Heart Network

European Alcohol Policy Alliance

European Centre for monitoring Alcohol Marketing

International Association of Mutual Benefit Societies – AIM

IOGT-NTO

European Public Health Alliance

European Association for the study of the liver

Standing Committee of European Doctors

British Medical Association

Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems

Institute of Alcohol Studies

European Kidney Health Alliance

Alcohol Action Ireland

United European Gastroenterology

Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

Feature

Civil society steps in to fight rising obesity

By 2030, it is estimated that more than 50 percent of Europeans will be obese. With a lack of public policies and coherent strategies, civil society is often the one trying to find a solution.

Focus

Europe's obesity battle, a haphazard reality

EU states are alarmed at the bulging waistlines of their citizens, but governments remain unwilling to commit to binding measures or an EU-wide approach to the problem.

Focus

Health experts wary of commission reshuffle

Medical experts fear an organisational reshuffle in the European Commission will prioritise the economics of health care over patients' well-being.

Sweden push for EU ban on children TV adverts

The Swedes, who have had a ban in place for 10 years, are inviting government and industry representatives from all member states to Stockholm next month to discuss plans to make it illegal for advertisers to target children under 12, reports Electronic Telegraph

Stakeholders' Views

This EUobserver section provides a platform for EU stakeholders to communicate positions, views and activities.

News in Brief

  1. EU bank delays gas pipeline decision
  2. Hungary's leftwing parties join Jobbik in anti-Orban protest
  3. Barnier: EU will not accept UK backtracking on Brexit deal
  4. Puigdemont to return to Catalonia if elected
  5. Commission approves EasyJet partial takeover of Air Berlin
  6. EU medical command centre due next year
  7. Auditors: EU 'green' farm payments fail ecology criteria
  8. Austria gas explosion creates Italian energy 'emergency'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ACCACFOs Risk Losing Relevance If They Do Not Embrace Technology
  2. UNICEFMake the Digital World Safer for Children & Increase Access for the Most Disadvantaged
  3. European Jewish CongressWelcomes Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and Calls on EU States to Follow Suit
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Boost Innovation Cooperation Under Horizon 2020
  5. European Gaming & Betting AssociationJuncker’s "Political" Commission Leaves Gambling Reforms to the Court
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Applauds U.S. Recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital City
  7. EU2017EEEU Telecom Ministers Reached an Agreement on the 5G Roadmap
  8. European Friends of ArmeniaEU-Armenia Relations in the CEPA Era: What's Next?
  9. Mission of China to the EU16+1 Cooperation Injects New Vigour Into China-EU Ties
  10. EPSUEU Blacklist of Tax Havens Is a Sham
  11. EU2017EERole of Culture in Building Cohesive Societies in Europe
  12. ILGA EuropeCongratulations to Austria - Court Overturns Barriers to Equal Marriage

Latest News

  1. Last chance for Poland to return property to its rightful owners
  2. Commission attacks Tusk on 'anti-European' migrant plan
  3. Volkswagen tells EU: we will fail on our recall promise
  4. EU will not start Brexit future talks before March
  5. Bitcoin risky but 'limited phenomenon', says EU
  6. Panama Papers - start of sensible revolution in EU tax affairs?
  7. Lebanon crisis overshadows EU aid for Syrian refugees
  8. New Polish PM brings same old government