Thursday

27th Apr 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

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

Let’s not put European public health at risk

Following Brexit, there are many different cities across the EU vying for the coveted prize of hosting the displaced European Medicines Agency, but Copenhagen might just be the perfect fit.

We must renew Europe for all Europeans

A call for socialist values and rights at a time when Europe is facing a number of existential threats, says a group of progressive European affairs ministers.

Stakeholders' Views

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

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ECR GroupSyed Kamall: We Need a New, More Honest Relationship With Turkey
  2. Counter BalanceParliament Sends Strong Signal to the EIB: Time to Act
  3. ACCARisks and Opportunities of Blockchain and Shared Ledgers Technologies in Financial Services
  4. UNICEFRace Against Time to Save Millions of Lives in Yemen
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersDeveloping Independent Russian-Language Media in the Baltic Countries
  6. Swedish EnterprisesReform of the European Electricity Market: Lessons from the Nordics, Brussels 2 May
  7. Malta EU 2017Green Light Given for New EU Regulation to Bolster External Border Checks
  8. Counter BalanceCall for EU Commission to Withdraw Support of Trans-Adriatic Pipeline
  9. ACCAEconomic Confidence at Highest Since 2015
  10. European Federation of Allergy and Airways60%-90% of Your Life Is Spent Indoors. How Does Poor Indoor Air Quality Affect You?
  11. European Gaming and Betting AssociationCJEU Confirms Obligation for a Transparent Licensing Process
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region and the US: A Time of Warlike Rhetoric and Militarisation?