WHO helps reduce the marketing to children of foods

Unhealthy diets are a leading factor affecting health and well-being in every European country, with rising overweight and obesity among children of particular concern as it affects up to 27% of 13-year-olds and 33% of 11-year-olds. The leading categories of advertised foods are soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, biscuits, confectionery, snack foods, ready meals and fast food. Brand recognition starts in early childhood and children who recognize multiple brands by the age of 4 years are more likely to eat unhealthily and be overweight.

Research has demonstrated that overweight children in particular respond to the presence of branded food packaging by increasing their consumption. Marketing of foods high in energy, fats, sugars or salt has a documented harmful impact on children as it promotes the development of unhealthy food preferences and diets, and childhood obesity, thus contributing to the later development of diet-related non-communicable diseases. Yet across Europe, children are still regularly exposed to marketing that promotes foods and drinks high in energy, saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars or salt.

Despite progress in some countries, it can be difficult for governments to identify foods whose marketing should be restricted, so WHO has developed a nutrient profile model for countries to adapt and use to classify foods according to their nutritional composition. Policy-makers across the Region will be able to use this tool to determine whether or not a food product should be marketed to children. The WHO model is largely based on the Danish and Norwegian models, which are used to restrict food marketing to children and countries can either use the model as it is, or adapt it to their own cultural circumstances. It can be used in two ways:

  • to identify foods not to be marketed to children
  • to monitor the extent and nature of food marketing.

For more information on the WHO nutrient profile model, click here   on www.euro.who.int

For more information on the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015-2020, click here on www.euro.who.int

Decisions on GMOs in food and feed

The commission has adopted a more flexible approach towards the use of GMOs in order to give member states the freedom to decide on their use in their territory, whilst maintaining an EU authorisation system. If member states decide to opt out from allowing a particular GMO to be used in their food chain, they will have to prove that the opt-out measures comply with EU law including the principles of the Internal Market, and the EU’s WTO obligations.

For more information, click here on http://europa.eu

A tax on ill health

Several countries in the WHO European Region have recently introduced health-related taxes or subsidies on specific foods and/or nutrients to positively influence dietary intake and health outcomes. This new publication provides information on the use of price policies to promote healthy diets and summarizes recent policy developments from different parts of the Region.

To read more, click here on http://feedproxy.google.com

EU consumers to benefit from better labeling

New food labeling rules have come into effect that will ensure consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive and accurate information on food content.

The key changes in labeling include:

  • Improved legibility of information (minimum font size for mandatory information);
  • Mandatory allergen information for non-prepacked food, including in restaurants and cafes;
  • Mandatory origin information for fresh meat from pigs, sheep, goats and poultry;
  • Same labelling requirements for online, distance-selling or buying in a shop;
  • List of engineered nanomaterials in the ingredients.
  • Specific information on the vegetable origin of refined oils and fats;
  • Strengthened rules to prevent misleading practices;
  • Indication of substitute ingredient for ‘Imitation’ foods;
  • Clear indication of “formed meat” or “formed fish”; and
  • Clear indication of defrosted products.

For more information, click here on www.europa.eu

Bien-être: Healthy Communities

2005 – 2007 Bien-être was a cross border two-year healthy schools and communities project between a multi-agency partnership in Kent and Pas-de-Calais, France which started in September 2005.

The objectives of Bien-être were to create cross-border and local learning networks – comprising of those involved with the health and education of children and the well-being of communities – in order to learn from different cultures; to foster mutual understanding of different methods of health and educational service delivery; and to explore opportunities for reducing health inequalities in schools and local communities.

By using food as a catalyst, the project stimulated interest in healthier lifestyles through professional, social and cultural exchanges. Increased community involvement in local projects helped further community development to improve the lives of children and parents in local areas.  The project also increased access for the children, their families and the wider community to a range of cultural activities focused on the enjoyment of healthy eating.

As part of the project, there were annual cross border professional exchange visits and two one-day Festivals of Food, Culture and Sports – one in Pas-de-Calais and one in Kent – bringing together schoolchildren, members of the community, health professionals, head teachers and teachers involved in the Bien-être project, as well as other health and education professionals from the area.