The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition applauds Senator Nancy Greene Raine for introducing legislation prohibiting food and beverage marketing to children. Marketing to children in Canada (outside of Quebec) is largely self-regulated and children are exposed to unprecedented levels of food and beverage advertising – most of which is for unhealthy products.
“Industry self-regulation is a failure,” says Dr Tom Warshawski, Chair, Childhood Obesity Foundation. “Legislation will protect kids, support parents as they teach their children healthy habits, and ensure all companies have to play by the same rules. We urge the government to move quickly to make this a reality.”
As much as 90 per cent of the food marketed to children and youth on TV is high in fat, sugar and/or salt. Kids are targeted through many channels and in different venues including TV and movies, across the Internet and through sponsorships, celebrity endorsements, branded videogames, product placement, and toy giveaways in restaurants. Unhealthy eating choices are closely linked with childhood overweight and obesity, which can result in the premature onset of heart disease and stroke risk factors, such as high blood pressure.
“We congratulate Senator Greene Raine for her commitment to children’s health by sending a clear message to industry that our children are not their business,” says Mary Lewis, VP Research, Advocacy and Health Promotion, Heart and Stroke Foundation. “Marketing works. That is why industry spends billions of dollars on marketing, and that is why it has to stop where our children are concerned.”
Research shows that the nutritional quality of food advertised to children hasn’t improved and the amount of advertising has actually increased since industry adopted voluntary measures. Quebec banned all commercial marketing to children, over 30 years ago, in the 1980s. A recent study showed that the Quebec marketing ban is associated with a 13 per cent reduction in fast food purchases. Quebec also has the lowest rates of obesity among 6–11 year olds as well as the highest vegetable and fruit consumption rate in Canada.
The World Health Organization has recommended a ban on marketing to children. Other jurisdictions including Mexico, UK, Sweden and Norway have introduced restrictions on marketing to children as a means to improve population health.
The Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition has developed the Ottawa Principles, which recommend restricting commercial marketing of all food and beverages to children and youth 16 years and under. The restrictions would not apply to non-commercial marketing for valid public health education or public awareness campaigns.
For more information about the coalition including the Ottawa Principles, visit www.stopmarketingtokids.ca
- The majority – 90 per cent – of marketed food and beverage products is high in fat, sugar and salt.
- The Internet is a key venue – 85% of food brands most heavily promoted to children have websites that directly target children or have content that interests them.
- Only 45% of youth ages 12 to 19 eat at least five servings (the minimum recommended) of fruit and vegetables daily.
- 31% of Canadian children and youth ages 5 to 17 are overweight or obese. Of these, four in five will grow up to be overweight adults.
- Childhood overweight and obesity may result in premature onset of heart disease and stroke risk factors such as high blood pressure
- Over the past 70 years, consumption of processed and ultra-processed foods in Canada has doubled, from 30% of the average family’s food purchases to 60%.
Category Tags: Health-care;