Calls for international collaboration to combat children-targeted junk food marketing
A report published in February 2020 by the WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission calls for a legally binding protocol to be added to the CRC so that countries can work together to prohibit children-targeted junk food marketing.
The Commission on Child Health and Wellbeing argues that tackling the issue of ‘predatory commercial practices’ of marketing fast food and sugary drinks transnationally is vital for improving the health and wellbeing of children.
Industry led self-regulation has so far seen little improvement in reducing the global obesity epidemic and existing global frameworks are insufficient. The number of obese children and adolescents increased 10-fold from, 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016.
The report states:
‘Companies make huge profits from marketing products directly to children and promoting addictive or unhealthy commodities, including fast foods [and] sugar sweetened beverages…which are major causes of non-communicable diseases’.
Sustain’s Children’s Food Campaign has been calling on the government to tighten current HFSS advertising restrictions and follow through with promises to introduce a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising as part of the Childhood Obesity Plan. Given the globalisation of media and products, an optional protocol adopted by the UN General Assembly has the capacity to tackle the transnational nature of the problem more successfully.