Associations call for the implementation of the Children’s Food Advertising Law

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Berlin 35 associations, organizations and initiatives criticize in a joint letter the federal government’s lack of commitment to protecting children from unhealthy food advertising. The planned children’s food advertising law has been stalled for a year.

At that time, the Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture, Cem zdemir (Greens), presented key points and a first draft law to restrict advertising for unhealthy foods aimed at children and young people (KLWG). However, he immediately received headwinds from his coalition partner, the FDP.

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz must now work to ensure that the law is implemented consistently and effectively before the summer holidays, calls from the alliance of medicine, health promotion, science, consumer protection and the protection of children and young people under the leadership of the German Alliance for Noncommunicable Diseases (THANKS TO) in an open letter to him.

The alliance’s 35 members include, among others, the Federal Medical Association (B.K.), the professional association of pediatricians and adolescent physicians (BVKJ), the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the German Epidemiological Societies (DGEpi), for nutritional medicine eV (DGEM), for cardiology – cardiac and circulatory studies (DGK), for pediatric and adolescent medicine eV (DGKJ) and for nephrology (DGfN) and the German Heart Foundation (DHS) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

We will be putting our children’s healthy future at risk if the federal government does not finally resolve the project and establish binding regulations, criticizes BK President Klaus Reinhardt. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) one in every seven deaths in Germany can be attributed to an unhealthy diet. Also the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend the legal restriction of advertising for unhealthy foods, in order to combat malnutrition among children and young people.

BVKJ Vice President Angela Schtze-Buchholz points to unhealthy eating habits among children and young people. Children eat twice as much candy but only half as much fruit as recommended. This is not without consequences, she says. 15 percent of children and young people in Germany are affected by obesity, which is why they are at risk of serious secondary diseases such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular diseases later in life.

Our society must not allow the growth of a generation of sick people, she warns. The widely consumed unhealthy sugary drink should be eliminated gradually. Healthy foods, preferably cheaper than unhealthy alternatives, should be the first choice.

The scientific basis for the need for regulation is undeniable, writes DANK: advertising increases purchasing and consumer behavior and promotes children’s nutritional preferences. According to a study by the University of Hamburg, children between the ages of three and 13 who use social media see an average of 15 unhealthy food advertisements per day. 92% of all advertising that children see is about unhealthy foods, such as fast food, snacks or sweets.

Regulations must be comprehensive and effective where children are exposed to advertising, whether television advertising, outdoor advertising or influencer advertising on social media, the open letter to the Chancellor states. The ubiquitous advertising of unhealthy foods has fatal health consequences.

Parents have to fight every day against a multi-million dollar industry that lures their children in with clever marketing tricks, he continues. Children’s health must not be crushed by the interests of industry. Politicians must end the impasse and protect the health of the youngest people in our society through strong law.

The alliance therefore urgently appeals to the Federal Chancellor to ensure that the KLWG is implemented as an important measure for better child health without further delays and weakening. The associations warn that protecting children’s health must take priority over the economic interests of the advertising industry and unhealthy food manufacturers. © EB/lau/aerzteblatt.de

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