Michael Omidi, MD examines the World Health Organization’s hopes to change marketing guidelines to fight children’s obesity.
The WHO Europe is hoping to promote new guidelines that would restrict marketing campaigns for foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt. The concern is borne out of the increased promotion of cheap and unhealthy foods through applications on smart phones and through social media.
While children are receiving messages about food through these new channels, television seems to be where most children are still getting signals about what to eat from advertising, although this is changing for the M2 Generation.
Recent studies have found that children are consuming more media than ever before. Media use has increased from 6.5 to 7.5 hours per day for most children 8 to 18, but what is most alarming is that thanks to children multitasking their media they actually consume almost 11 hours of media into that brief period.
With children’s obesity affecting almost every country in the world it is important to address all aspects that may be contributing to the obesity epidemic including advertising. WHO is hoping that new regulations will be instituted for marketing sweetened breakfast cereals, sugary drinks, and other snacks and foods high in salt and sugar.
By Michael Omidi, MD